Trent Reznor says he’s moving on from Twitter, and Elon Musk is taking it personally and publicly. The two tech giants engaged in a Twitter war over whether Musk was a “public relations” genius or a “PR hackster” as Reznor called him in a long, heartfelt rant at the end of September. Musk responded to Reznor in a public blog post, saying, “I don’t really understand how anyone would disagree with @trentm Reznor’s assessment of what Elon is like. I think he is right on the mark. It comes from the heart.” But a day later, Elon took a second swipe at Reznor, arguing that the public discourse is too negative. Both are right and wrong, Musk said, and he offered a suggestion to get things back on the right track.
The Elon Musk versus Trent Reznor Twitter spat
In his blog post, Musk asked: “Do we really need Twitter, or something similar, in order to get our point across?” And in a statement, Musk said that the Twitter fight was “exhausting and frustrating… and it is also a symptom of a larger, more damaging cultural problem.” Musk added that he has been speaking up about the issues he sees in the public discourse and, “As I have done in the past, I am working on improving the state of discourse on the internet.”
Why it matters: This Twitter spat is an example of a wider problem, and it’s one of several that have had strong effects on Musk, who says he has no interest in shutting down Twitter or taking it away from people like Reznor. “It’s an interesting debate to have and I’m glad it happened,” Musk told CNN Tech in 2015. But, Musk added, “That said, I have no interest in shutting things down.”
So how did it happen? An important part of the story is that Musk’s relationship with Twitter and Reznor has changed over the years. Before the Twitter war, Musk had a fairly positive interaction with the service. In May 2013, he tweeted: