Musk’s Mixed Signals

Nithusa Sinnadurai, Staff Writer

New year, new possibilities, but one thing no one expected to discover was the power held by one single tweet from Elon Musk. Two words that got a company’s stock price to go up by 11,708%, in four days, but the only problem is that people purchased the wrong stock. 

The company Musk was referring to was Signal, a free, encrypted messaging service famed for its extreme privacy setting. Musk, a huge advocate for encrypted messaging, never misses an opportunity to call out services such as Facebook and Whatsapp for their lack of discrepancy. On January 6th, he tweeted a meme, criticizing the domino effect Facebook’s role caused in the hectic riots that took place in the Capitol. With the tweet receiving over 375,400 likes and 437,000 retweets, gathering a large response from the public, the frenzy perpetuated the self-made billionaire to tweet to his users “Use Signal” on January 7th. People were quick to jump onto Musk’s bandwagon and (attempted to) purchased Signal stocks. Unaware of the fact that Signal is private stock, people mistakenly purchased Signal Advance stocks. Signal Advance was a failing biotechnology company from 1992. The company was so small that it was reported that it had made zero revenue from 2014 to 2016, but due to the sliver of negligence and miscommunication the company went from a stock price of $0.60 to a maximum price of $70.85.

 The confusion had cleared up once both companies released statements addressing the miscommunication at hand. Chris Hymel, CEO of Signal Advance, said “We strongly recommend people do their due diligence and always invest with care.” and revealed to consumers that the company had no correlation to Musk nor the Signal app. While the Signal app took to Twitter to say “It’s understandable that people want to invest in Signal’s record growth, but this isn’t us. We’re an independent 501c3 and our only investment is in your privacy.” Once users were able to distinguish the difference between the two companies, they were quick to download the Signal App; and as January dwindled down to an end, the nonprofit company has secured 40 million total users.

Musk’s impressive resume consists of the Nobel Prize in Economic Science, being the richest man in the world, the founder of a billion-dollar company, it’s pretty hard not to take his advice. Overall, a single tweet has proven exactly the influence Elon Musk has over the stock market and the 99%. 

Photo by Dimitri Karastelev, Unsplash

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