Get PolitiFact in your inbox.

Andy Nguyen
By Andy Nguyen April 8, 2022

Twitter post wasn’t serious about Elon Musk using $3 billion to give every American family $100,000

If Your Time is short

  • The Twitter post was a joke and did not seriously argue that Elon Musk should have used the money he spent on buying Twitter shares to give every American family $100,000.
  • Even if it was serious, the math is wrong. $3 billion divided by 122 million households would be $24.59 for each family with nothing leftover to cancel student debt. 
  • Americans owe an estimated $1.74 trillion in student loans.

A viral social media post is claiming the $3 billion Elon Musk spent buying a 9% stake in Twitter should’ve been directly given to the American people instead.

The April 5 tweet was made following the announcement that the Tesla CEO would join Twitter’s board of directors after purchasing 73.5 million shares of the company’s stock.

"With the money Elon Musk spent to buy Twitter shares, he could have given every American family $100,000 and still had enough left over to cancel all student debt," tweeted Hunter Walk, the co-founder of a venture capital firm.

If Walk’s tweet sparked a sense of familiarity, it’s because it echoed a similar claim involving Michael Bloomberg.

During the 2020 presidential election, a claim was made that Bloomberg’s campaign spent $500 million on advertising. A social media user at the time said the money could’ve been used to give all 327 million people in the United States $1 million each.

PolitiFact found the Bloomberg critic’s math was flawed. If $500 million was actually divided among 327 million people, it would amount to about $1.53 per person.

Walk’s tweet also includes faulty math. Although he doesn’t say what is considered a family, there are at least 122 million households in America with about 2.6 people per household, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Dividing $3 billion by 122 million households would result in each unit getting $24.59, with nothing leftover to tackle student debt.

Featured Fact-check

Even if Musk’s $3 billion was dedicated toward paying off college loans, it wouldn’t cover a quarter-percent of what’s owed. 

It's estimated that Americans owe around $1.74 trillion in student loans

Walk later admitted he wasn’t being serious with his claim and said in one reply that it was a "troll twete."

In a follow-up tweet on April 6, he joked about his post triggering a fact-check by Twitter’s Birdwatch feature.

"What did I learn? People on left don't do math and people on right are really willing to defend their rich icons," Walk said. "And crypto folks are generally vocal but sometimes funny."

Our ruling

A user on Twitter said the $3 billion Elon Musk used to buy shares of Twitter could’ve been redistributed to give $100,000 to each American family and eliminate student debt.

But $3 billion divided among all the families in America would be nowhere close to $100,000. It also wouldn’t even come close to covering the $1.74 trillion that Americans owe in student loans. 

We rate this Twitter post as Pants on Fire!

Our Sources

Hunter Walk’s Twitter post, April 5, 2022

Archive of Hunter Walk’s Twitter post, April 8, 2022 

PBS NewsHour, "Elon Musk buys 73.5 million shares of Twitter’s stock, becoming biggest stakeholder," April 5, 2022

PolitiFact, "Bad math at MSNBC: Bloomberg’s ad spending wasn’t enough to give every American $1 million," March 6, 2020

United States Census Bureau, QuickFacts: United States, accessed April 8, 2022

Federal Reserve Economic Data, Student Loans Owned and Securitized, April 7, 2022

Hunter Walk’s Twitter reply, April 5, 2022

Archive of Hunter Walk’s Twitter reply, April 8, 2022 

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Andy Nguyen

Twitter post wasn’t serious about Elon Musk using $3 billion to give every American family $100,000

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up