A scathing critique of Elon Musk’s flagship companies recently came from an unlikely source — Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz. In a July 29 post on the social media platform Threads, Moskovitz argued that Tesla and SpaceX are essentially “scams” that Musk has managed to get away with due to overpromising capabilities and timelines.
The post ignited fresh debate over whether Musk truly deserves sole credit for accelerating sustainable transport and space travel, or if he leveraged exaggeration and hype.
“If they were really built on outward lies, rather than just self-deceptions (rose-colored glasses), then we should really see them as scams he got away with,” wrote Moskovitz on Threads.
Moskovitz claimed that Musk’s continual promises of unachievable EV ranges, full self-driving abilities and automated factories lured customers, workers and investors when Tesla was starting out.
“The belief in those claims and the accelerated timelines is what made Tesla look like a leader so quickly; then they turned that cache into actual resources with fundraising. Estimating correctly wouldn’t have looked revolutionary,” he wrote.
A 2022 Reuters report revealed that Tesla exaggerates the range capabilities displayed on its dashboards at Musk’s direction. Tesla ranges can look “heads and tails above the competitors” when that may not reflect real-world conditions, Moskovitz noted.
Moskovitz believes Musk only accelerated mainstream EV adoption by 1–2 years with his promises, while potentially delaying it longer through chronic missed timelines. As a software entrepreneur, Moskovitz understands launch delays. But he feels Tesla’s main competitive edge relies on the perception of being far ahead, when reality may differ.
“I don’t really see these companies as dispensing impact, or at least don’t give nearly as much credit to him as others do. If they were really built on outward lies, rather than just self-deceptions (rose-colored glasses), then we should really see them as scams he got away with,” he concluded.
Musk has drawn SEC penalties for Tesla tweets that exaggerated production forecasts. Yet he maintains a fervent supporter base, as the world’s richest man.
Moskovitz Blames ‘Overpromising and Underdelivering’
Moskovitz also briefly slammed SpaceX in the post. He believes Musk follows a pattern of “overpromising and underdelivering” at both companies.
While Musk attracts relentless criticism from some corners, he tweeted July 28 that his goals are sincere and he welcomes competition:
“The goal of my companies is simply to be as useful as possible, never to kill the competition. Competing to serve the people is a good thing.”
Yet MIT research scientist Lex Fridman countered that Musk does deter competition by attracting so much of the talent, capital and attention in the EV and rocket sectors.
Moskovitz Co-Founded Facebook, Now Focuses on Philanthropy
As one of Facebook’s earliest engineers and financiers, Moskovitz was the world’s youngest self-made billionaire at age 22. He left Facebook in 2008 and has since focused on philanthropic initiatives for social good.
Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna established Good Ventures Foundation to help fund high-impact charities through evidence-based giving. He also co-founded the voter registration non-profit Votefwd and funds pandemic prevention research.
Despite their contrasting views on Musk’s impact, Moskovitz and Musk share an underlying ethos valuing technology to uplift humanity. Both built tech juggernauts in their 20s that made them two of the world’s youngest billionaires.
Yet their paths diverged, as Moskovitz channeled his fortune into philanthropy while Musk continues hustling to build transformational companies. Their polarized perspectives on Tesla and SpaceX showcase Musk’s divisiveness — few innovators spark such fierce criticism and praise.
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