As the coronavirus pandemic continues its path of destruction, some companies have weathered the storm quite well. Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) just released their promising Q1 earnings reports.
It helps that each company is run by a CEO that cares more about their company’s success than the welfare of the general population. Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk both doled out pandemic advice today. And, although they gave opposing advice, each of their respective companies stands to benefit from it.
It was an eventful day for tech billionaires eager to give out self-serving health advice. It all started with the loose-thumbed Elon Musk, telling his 33 million Twitter followers to break lockdown orders.
Why would Elon Musk urge Americans to get outside in COVID-19’s favorite country?
Money, of course. Musk is close to getting a $720 million Tesla payout, but he needs people to operate his factories.
Musk’s tweet comes two days after the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, was forced to stay closed. If it were up to Elon Musk, Tesla probably never would’ve closed any factories. His factory in China is already back to running six days a week.
Mark Zuckerberg gave the opposite advice of the Tesla CEO on Wednesday. The Facebook CEO worries that:
reopening certain places too quickly before inaction rates have been reduced to very minimal levels will almost guarantee future outbreaks and worsen longer-term health and economic outcomes.
That makes sense. But it makes even more sense when your company could massively benefit from the lockdown.
Facebook recently launched its video conferencing feature, “Messenger Rooms.” This feature puts Facebook in direct competition with video meeting all-star Zoom.
The longer the lockdown lasts, the more time Facebook will have to sink their talons into locked down civilians and try to pull them away from Zoom.
Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg have consistently put profit over people. We saw that in the 2016 election debacle and the terrible way they’ve treated moderators, to name a few.
It turns out, this new feature is no different. While Facebook touts its privacy features, they will be able to share data gathered in messenger rooms with third-parties.
Rowenna Fielding, a privacy expert and head of individual rights and ethics at Protecture, recently told Forbes:
Privacy settings on Facebook don’t protect data from Facebook, or its partners’ exploitation of the data.
Data mining and profiling are the core of their business model–governance and ethics have been notably absent from the start and continue to be so.
While it’s probably a great idea to practice extreme caution with reopening the economy, don’t let Mark Zuckerberg earn your trust with obvious advice.
Both of these exceedingly rich men got great financial news on Wednesday. Tesla stock leaped 10%, to about $875 per share. It’s the company’s highest share price since February.
The price action followed a rosy earnings report showing that Tesla managed to squeeze out a profit during the pandemic. Meanwhile, competitors like Ford are struggling to stay alive.
Facebook also had a lovely day, rising 10% in after-hours trading. The social media giant reported a sizeable boost in monthly users and an increased ‘stability’ in ad revenue.
On Wednesday, Mark Zuckerberg said,
I’ve always believed that in times of economic downturn the right thing to do is to keep investing and building the future
That’s great, Mark. But hopefully, someday you and Elon Musk will realize that ‘the right thing to do’ includes acting with integrity.