Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Musk vs. Zuck: A tale of two CEOs acting much differently during a pandemic

Modern-day robber barons representing the techno-oligarchy, the rising ruling class, and the left-wing of capitalism. Fuck ’em all.

By Therese Poletti

Market Watch

Mark Zuckerberg has spent much of the past two years facing widespread vitriol about Facebook Inc.’s huge privacy lapses, while Elon Musk has bathed in rabid fans’ lionization of him as a genius who will change the world.

When confronted with the most dangerous crisis either Facebook (FB)  or Tesla Inc. (TSLA) has faced as public companies, those roles reversed Wednesday on their respective earnings conference calls. Zuckerberg appeared to be the levelheaded, science-based executive who thinks through complex problems, while Musk sounded more like Mr. Burns from “The Simpsons” or a comic-book villain who does not care about preventing COVID-19 from spreading if it means keeping his factory closed.

The contrast mirrors the ongoing debate in the U.S. about when to open up the country to avoid a total economic collapse without endangering citizens who are more vulnerable to the coronavirus that is spreading across the globe. The San Francisco Bay Area — where Facebook and Tesla are based — announced an extension of its shelter-in-place Wednesday that will allow for more freedoms beyond the essential activities allowed currently.

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