Tech titans Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk are in a fierce business rivalry that has spilled over into a playground spat, with the two men offering to fight each other in a cage.

   Months after Musk took over Twitter, Zuckerberg’s Meta hinted it was planning to launch its own text-based social media platform — essentially a direct rival.

   Musk has trolled Zuckerberg ever since with messages on Twitter, telling his fans this week: “I’m up for a cage match if he is lol.”

   Zuckerberg, who has followed the trend of tech bosses getting buff and posting martial arts videos, responded on Wednesday on his Instagram Stories with a screenshot of the message and a response: “Send me location.”

   Meta confirmed to AFP that Zuckerberg’s message was genuine.

The exchange has provoked mirth on social media with plenty of fight predictions — Zuckerberg emerging as the clear favorite.

   “Please god let this happen,” technology journalist Taylor Lorenz wrote on Twitter.

   “The best Musk-Zuckerberg cage match is one in which two men enter and no men leave,” wrote podcaster Bennett Tomlin.

   The two men have baited each other for years with opposing views on everything from politics to artificial intelligence.

   But their new business rivalry has supercharged the animosity.

   Musk responded angrily to a recent claim by a Meta official that there was an appetite for a “sanely run” Twitter alternative.

   The Tesla and SpaceX boss bought the social media firm for $44 billion before sacking much of its staff and allowing banned right-wing conspiracy theorists back onto the platform — sending advertisers fleeing.

   Musk defended his handling of Twitter at an event in Paris last week, saying advertisers had come back and he had eliminated almost all bots.

   In an interview earlier this month with US podcaster Lex Fridman, Zuckerberg was asked to say something positive about Musk’s handling of Twitter.

   After an eight-second pause for thought, he said Musk had “led a push early on to make Twitter a lot leaner”, a move he said was good for the industry.

   Zuckerberg announced thousands of job cuts at his firm months after Musk did so at Twitter.

   © AFP 2023

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