Henrik Fisker, CEO of electric car maker Fisker Inc., deleted his Twitter account in a high-profile departure from the social network this week, over concerns about how the platform will operate under the ownership of Elon Musk, his long-time rival.
Twitter yesterday accepted Musk’s $44 billion offer to buy the company and take it private. Fisker, a well-known car designer who once worked for Musk under contract in Tesla’s early days, encouraged followers to switch to his Instagram to keep up with him in his latest tweet. Musk says he’s committed to making Twitter a bastion of free speech, but Fisker isn’t so sure.
“I believe 100% in free speech,” he told Forbes via text message. “But I don’t want my freedom of expression to be actively managed or controlled by a competitor. And I don’t want a competitor determining how my fans experience Fisker as we grow our company.”
Some Twitter users expressed concern about the direction the platform will take under Musk’s control, such as increased tolerance for hate speech, vaccine falsehoods, and content that is racist, misogynistic, or attacking the LGBTQ community, though not it is clear how many will leave. It is also feared that accounts, like the popular “Elon Musk’s Jet , which provides updates on where the mercurial billionaire flies on his luxurious Gulfstream G650ER , be removed when the sale is complete.
Although Fisker is no longer on Twitter, the company Fisker Inc. does maintain his account. Whether or not the Los Angeles-based automaker maintains its account “is a company decision,” Fisker said, without elaborating. A company spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.
Fisker, who once designed a BMW roadster for James Bond and ran the Aston Martin design studio, was one of the first design consultants for the vehicle that would eventually become Tesla’s Model S sedan. Musk didn’t like Fisker’s concept and (unsuccessfully) sued him in 2008 for breach of contract, claiming the Danish businessman took on the project to spy on Tesla. Fisker denied the allegation.
Its first attempt to take on Tesla, with Fisker Automotive’s Karma plug-in hybrid luxury car, failed about a decade ago, but it’s back with Fisker Inc. The company’s all-electric Ocean SUV, a competitor to Tesla’s Model Y , will launch later this year and will be built under contract for Fisker by automotive engineering powerhouse Magna in Graz, Austria.
Cost of the Ocean starts at $37,499 for the base Sport version that goes 250 miles per charge. A top-of-the-line Extreme model gets at least 350 miles per charge, accelerates from 60 miles per hour in just 3.6 seconds, and will set buyers back $68,999. A second Fisker model, the PEAR, will be built in partnership with Foxconn in Lordstown, Ohio, beginning in 2024.
Fisker shares fell about 4% to $10.52 on the Nasdaq midday Tuesday.
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