Sigh. Two of the most high-profile and obscenely loaded tech titans in the world, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, have gotten into a spat about an upcoming Meta product, which has now descended to the point where Musk (52) has challenged Zuckerberg (39) to a cage fight. An invitation which the pasty Facebook founder has accepted.
Everything kicked off when Musk got upset about Meta's P92, the working title for a social media platform intended to eat Twitter's lunch. Meta has confirmed to the BBC that the product is in development, with the report saying it will integrate with Instagram and certain thirdparty platforms like Mastodon. So yeah: this is going to be some serious competition for Musk and the $45 billion white elephant that is Twitter.
What really seems to have got Musk raging, however, is a bit of a backhand from an anonymous Meta executive, who said in a staff meeting witnessed by the Verge that "We’ve been hearing from creators and public figures who are interested in having a platform that is sanely run." Stick that one in your pipe and smoke it Elon.
"I’m sure Earth can’t wait to be exclusively under Zuck’s thumb with no other options," responded Musk on, of course, Twitter. "At least it will be "sane". Was worried there for a moment."
One wag told Musk to be careful because Zuckerberg's into his jiu-jitsu now, to which Musk replied "I'm up for a cage match if he is lol."
Zuckerberg then replied on his own social media platform, Instagram, with a picture of Musk's tweet and the ominous-sounding: "send me location." To which Musk said "If this is for real, I will do it" with two fire emojis, adding "Vegas Octagon" (this is where the UFC is based).
To be fair to Musk he later added that "I have this great move that I call 'The Walrus', where I just lie on top of my opponent & do nothing". Which does sound like it could incapacitate pretty much anybody. He then began tweeting videos of walruses, because we live in a world run by rich manbabies.
If it ever did happen, you'd probably put your money on Zuckerberg, who seems to be a fitness maniac and has been training in jiu-jitsu. He has, apparently, also won some tournament in California last month, though I do wonder whether this was like the Judo showcases Vladimir Putin occasionally puts on in Russia, where some poor FSB members dress up in gis for the day to get thrown around by the boss.
Musk has a long history of saying outright daft stuff which doesn't happen (he told the BBC in April he'd made his dog chief executive of Twitter) and this is, of course, not going to happen. This is the silicon valley equivalent of two old silverbacks thumping their chests at each other, while PR teams scurry around picking up all the banana peels. In fact the single best thing about this story is the response of the Meta PR team to requests for comment on their boss picking fights online: "the story speaks for itself."