Not only is Elon Musk now the world’s wealthiest person, but he apparently also wields some power over random penny stocks. When the Tesla and SpaceX CEO tweeted “Use Signal,” he meant to suggest that people turn to the encrypted messaging app as an alternative to What’s App, which is owned by Facebook.
Instead, the billionaire’s tweet sent a random stock soaring 1,100%. Signal Advance (SIGL), a tech company founded by Chris Hymel, a Texas inventor and entrepreneur, rose from 60 cents to $7.19 between Thursday and market close on Friday.
The misunderstanding caused the Signal app developers to tweet a clarification: “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,” the nonprofit said.
Musk revealed on Twitter that he donated to the organization a year ago and tweeted that he “Will donate more.”
And even though the privately held, not-for-profit app developer can’t benefit from increased valuation based on stock purchases, it still came out ahead. Musk’s tweet also had the desired effect of guiding people to a more secure messaging alternative than What’s App. Sources reported that so many users opened Signal accounts following the tweet on Thursday that verification codes were delayed. Signal tweeted that it was working with carriers to resolve the issue, and the organization had fixed it by Friday.
Musk has made no secret of his dislike for Facebook, which owns What’s App. In February 2020, he shared the hashtag #DeleteFacebook, adding, “It’s lame.” In 2018, he deleted the Facebook pages for both Tesla and SpaceX.
Musk’s tweet aside, the mass exodus from What’s App was sparked by privacy concerns when a new pop-up notification on the app revealed that the messenger service shared user data with Facebook. Although What’s App has been sharing data with the social network since 2016, new terms of service for the app did not give new users the choice to opt out of this data sharing, explained an article in Wired. Facebook stock dropped marginally at market close Friday. Is this just a blip, or might Facebook be in for another rocky year?
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