Basketball star LeBron James’ tweet about recent proliferation of derogatory racial epithets on Twitter being scary caught Elon Musk’s attention.
“I dont know Elon Musk and, tbh, I could care less who owns twitter,” James commented in a Saturday Twitter post. “But I will say that if this is true, I hope he and his people take this very seriously because this is scary AF. So many damn unfit people saying hate speech is free speech.”
The L.A. Lakers power forward included a tweet containing a Yahoo News report claiming Twitter accounts using the “N-word” increased 500 percent after Musk’s takeover. Yahoo, in turn, cited a Washington Post report about the increase of alleged “hate speech” on Twitter after the billionaire bought Twitter.
The Post claimed anonymous Twitter trolls spewed racist slurs and Nazi memes after Musk became the social media app’s sole owner Thursday. Fears that Musk’s pledge of unrestricted free speech could fuel a new wave of online hate sent woke twitterati into a frenzy.
Musk declared he has made no changes to the San Francisco-based company’s moderation policies yet.
The Tesla founder replied to James Sunday, retweeting a response from Twitter’s head of safety and integrity, Yoel Roth. The safety and integrity leader addressed the reported surge in alleged slurs and derogatory terms posted to the site.
Roth explained the increase came during the last 48 hours from a small number of accounts posting an inordinate amount of content.
“More than 50,000 Tweets repeatedly using a particular slur came from just 300 accounts,” Roth stated.
“Nearly all of these accounts are inauthentic,” Roth declared in a separate tweet. “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 company’s new owner added a number of separate tweets on the topic.
“Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints,” Musk announced in one tweet. “No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.”
In the meantime, it appears the concerted messages are a designed test of Musk’s stated desire to free the speech by purchasing Twitter.
“Evidence suggests that bad actors are trying to test the limits on @Twitter,” remarked the Network Contagion Research Institute. “Several posts on 4chan encourage users to amplify derogatory slurs.”
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