Elon Musk, CEO of electric car company Tesla, has left Twitter. And it'll all because of a piece of Nier: Automata fan art.
Over the weekend Musk posted a Tweet with a drawing of the android 2B, a protagonist in the critically acclaimed 2017 action-RPG Nier: Automata. Simply captioned (incorrectly) "2b," Musk was criticized for not crediting the artist in his initial Tweet.
When users asked Musk to credit the artist, Musk responded, "No." Instead of backing down, Musk continued to defend his choice not to credit artists on Twitter claiming attribution is "destroying the medium."
Crediting art has become a major sticking point for artists on social media platform because of accounts that repost original content and pass it off as their own. This prevents users from discovering who the true artist of a work is and could cost them valuable eyes on current or future projects.
Musk has 27 million followers, a number that dwarfs the followers of the actual artist of the 2B picture, French artist Meli Magali. By not crediting them, both the original artist and the audience miss out on being able to connect with one another.
Criticism of Musk's decision not to credit the artist, and to defend the decision, continued through the weekend until last night when Musk announced that he was leaving the social media platform.
Musk hasn't actually deleted his account yet since his Tweets are still visible. Instead, he's changed his avatar to a blank picture and hasn't Tweeted in 15 hours.
NieR: Automata is partly responsible for Elon Musk deleting his Twitter. What a sentence.— Jade King (@KonaYMA6) June 17, 2019
This is not the first time the CEO's Tweets have landed him in trouble. In August 2018, Musk tweeted, "Considering taking Tesla private at $420." The Tweet caused Tesla stock to jump by over 6 percent and caught the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Following an investigation Musk was fined $20 million and was forced to step down as chairman of Tesla as a result of fraud charges.
By comparison, the backlash to the fanart of 2B seems relatively minor, but is another embarrassing social media episode for the CEO.