In what is widely seen as an astonishing abdication of responsibility, Elon Musk, Twitter’s new boss, tweeted a dubious, unverified story on Sunday suggesting that Paul Pelosi, the 82-year husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who hospitalised with a skull fracture after being assaulted at home by an intruder, was attacked by a gay lover.
Musk later deleted the post without explanation after setting the political twitterverse aflame with the provocation. Many political figures and public intellectuals denounced the tweet, saying he was unworthy of the responsibility that came with buying the social media platform.
Musk, a self-professed “free speech absolutist” was responding to a tweet from Hillary Clinton condemning the attack and claiming it resulted from “hate and deranged conspiracy theories” spread by Republican politicians. He pointed to a story in the Santa Monica Observer that claimed, without evidence, that Paul Pelosi was drunk at the time of the assault and “in a dispute with a male prostitute.”
“There is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye,” the world’s richest man tweeted to his 112 million, tagging Hillary Clinton to the story in a publication notorious for publishing right-wing garbage, including one that advanced a claim that a Hillary Clinton body double debated Donald Trump in 2016 because she had died.
Musk, who is a former Democrats-turned-Republican supporter, was roasted in the liberal media for relaying the garbage despite his pledge when he acquired Twitter that he would not let it become a free-for-all hellscape.
“It has been interesting, over the years, to watch you blossom from the electric car guy into a fully-formed piece of shit
@elonmusk,” the late night entertain Jimmy Kimmel tweeted. Musk responded with a single teardrop emoticon.
Twitter new billionaire owner has taken a flip and frivolous approach to his newly acquired social media platform on the pretext of curtailing its purported censorship by the previous dispensation that put a lid on right-wing conspiracies — such as Donald Trump won the 2020 election.
“Comedy is now legal on Twitter,” he tweeted on Friday.
But by Twitter’s own admission under the new regime, hate speech and toxic content has spiked up after Musk took over.
“Over the last 48 hours, we’ve seen a small number of accounts post a ton of Tweets that include slurs and other derogatory terms. To give you a sense of scale: More than 50,000 Tweets repeatedly using a particular slur came from just 300 accounts. Nearly all of these accounts are inauthentic. We’ve taken action to ban the users involved in this trolling campaign — and are going to continue working to address this in the days to come to make Twitter safe and welcoming for everyone,” the platform’s Head of Safety & Integrity Yoel Roth said over the weekend.
“Unfortunately, you now have a 110-million-follower owner who keeps stating that he will be personally intervening to amplify, restore and favor huge accounts who promote hate, misogyny, election lies and fascist propaganda. This is an alarming new change,” responded one Twitter user.