In a free-wheeling interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said his Twitter direct messages are mostly made up of memes, and he isn’t overly worried about them being hacked.
Musk’s was one of more than 100 high-profile Twitter accounts compromised as part of a July 15th Bitcoin scam. The company has said the attackers may have downloaded the private direct messages and personal information of some people in the process, although Twitter said none of those were “verified” accounts, as Musk’s is.
“I’m not that concerned about my DMs being made public,” Musk told Dowd. “I mean, we can probably cherry pick some section of my DMs that sound bad out of context but overall my DMs mostly consist of swapping memes.”
During the conversation with Dowd, Musk said he has a “secret” Instagram account “to see links of things that people send me” (paging Ashley Feinberg...) and that he thinks he may have had COVID-19 in January.
“I think the reality of Covid is that it is dangerous if you’re elderly and have pre-existing conditions,” he said in the interview. “It absolutely makes sense to have a lockdown if you’re vulnerable, but I do not think it makes sense to have a lockdown if you’re not vulnerable.” Musk went toe-to-toe with officials in Fremont, California, reopening his company’s car factory there in May in violation of a local shelter-in-place order. He told Dowd he wears a mask on the factory floor.
One of the more puzzling aspects of the interview is how Dowd paints Musk’s personal relationships: “Certainly, the titan can be a romantic.” She lists several of his more high-profile relationships, including his current girlfriend Grimes, and actresses Talulah Riley and Amber Heard, but makes no mention of Musk’s first wife Justine —mother of five of his sons— whom he divorced in 2008.
Musk doesn’t grant many interviews, so it’s interesting to see him answer questions about SpaceX, Tesla, Facebook, AI, Twitter, and that copy cat tweet he sent to Amazon and Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos. And in case you were wondering: He’s OK with President Trump calling him “one of our great geniuses” following the May launch of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon.
“I’ll take the compliment,” Musk said.
We’re as shocked as you are.