Members of one of the oldest Internet forums where Tesla investors and fans congregate think they have a celebrity anonymously posting on the boards: Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Tesla says it's not him.
Someone using the name Fact Checking started posting at the Tesla Motors Club forum, the Internet's most active forum for Tesla investors, on Aug. 3. In three months, the user, whose profile information is private, has made more than 1,300 posts, often on topics such as short sellers, what was behind Musk's thinking on several topics, and even one explanation of orbital physics.
The account's huge number of posts and apparent deep familiarity with Tesla's business and Musk's thinking quickly made Fact Checking a prominent contributor to the forum, but members didn't start to suspect the person might be Musk until Oct. 4, when Musk tweeted the same joke Fact Checking had made a couple of days earlier. That was the day Musk tweeted a joke with a dropped word: "Just want to that the Shortseller Enrichment Commission is doing incredible work. And the name change is so on point!" A forum member pointed out that Fact Checking had used the exact same phrase five days earlier in the Tesla Motors Club forum's "Market Action" thread.
Fact Checking acknowledged this coincidence: "So is Elon reading TMC, or is he joking like me? Not sure which possibility I find more unsettling."
Five minutes later, a forum member articulated the other possible explanation: "I think Fact Checking is Elon."
But Tesla squashed that speculation late last month, when Automotive News reached out and asked whether anyone at Tesla, specifically Musk, was posting on the message board under the name Fact Checking.
"No," a company spokesman wrote in an email.
The one-word answer may seem like a simple response, but Tesla rarely addresses rumors head-on.