Video game developer Brianna Wu, a failed Democratic congressional candidate, tried to slam Elon Musk over an innocuous New Year's celebration message.
But her attempt badly failed when Musk revealed that she is paying for Twitter's subscription services.
On New Year's Day, Musk tweeted that he hoped everyone was enjoying the first day of the new year — and promised it would not be boring.
"Hope you’re having a great day 1 2023! One thing’s for sure, it won’t be boring," he said.
Innocent enough, right? Apparently not. Wu responded to Musk by celebrating his loss in net worth last year, predicting that Musk, the world's second-richest person, will make "even worse decisions" leading to further financial losses.
"You worked hard this year and lost over 200 billion," she snarked. "I believe that this year you will surpass yourself with even worse decisions."
In a serious turn of irony, Musk responded to Wu's comments and revealed that she is paying him for Twitter Blue, the social media platform's subscription service that allows users to purchase a blue "verified" checkmark and other services.
"Thanks for paying me $8," Musk responded.
Indeed, when you hover over the checkmark on Wu's profile page, it says, "This account is verified because it’s subscribed to Twitter Blue."
Did Musk really lose $200B?
According to CNBC, Musk's net worth decreased by about $115 billion in 2022, nearly half of what Wu claimed.
The significant loss in net worth is mostly attributed to Tesla's falling stock price. Importantly, Musk did not actually lose $115 billon in liquid assets, but rather lost perceived money tightly connected to the current price of Tesla stock that, in theory, could have been liquidated had Musk wanted it. Musk's net-worth losses meant he lost the title of world's richest person, but he remains the wealthiest person in America.
While the media have tried to frame Musk's perceived losses as connected to his acquisition of Twitter, billionaires worldwide were impacted by the same economic forces as Musk.
In fact, billionaires in the U.S. lost an estimated $660 billion in net worth last year, while billionaires worldwide lost nearly $2 trillion, CNBC reported.