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Musk

As Elon Musk, the increasingly mad genius who's not exactly loved after a court accepted his ridiculous defence in the "pedo man" case and who's the poster-boy for how not to communicate about your company in social media puts his foot so far in his own mouth he could kick a football through his.. oh, never mind. He's done it again and tanked the value of Tesla. In doing so, he's lifted his profile enough for pump and dump artists to be using his interest in the current great scam, Artificial Intelligence, and the con artists who manipulate shares are all over his "Quantum AI."

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It's one of the quickest settlements that the USA's Securities and Accounts Commission will ever see. On 27th September, civil proceedings were started. That was Thursday. The proceedings were, it has to be said, no surprise but while the "what" was expected, the "when" was unknown. After all, American prosecutors and regulators enjoy the glare of publicity and trying their cases in the court of public opinion long before they ever get to a court room. But Elon Musk, who is increasingly demonstrating deteriorating judgement in so many ways, is nothing if not decisive. On Saturday, 29th September, the SEC issued a statement: the SEC and Musk had settled and Musk didn't do anywhere near as badly as the SEC had applied for. But there is a sting in the tail.

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It's now clear: posting message on social media such as twitter, facebook and instagram is regarded by the USA's Securities and Exchange Commission in the same light as any other statement and the consequences for false or misleading information are the same as any other means of disseminating such information. Elon Musk, hardly a shrinking violet when it comes to grabbing headlines for his various ventures, is the defendant in a civil action brought by the SEC: what happens here will define both how corporations use social media and whether others who have posted material they should not have done will be brought to book.

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