Tuesday, June 6, 2023
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Musk Destroys BBC Reporter’s False Claims over Twitter Hate Speech

'Well then I say, sir, that you don’t know what you’re talking about. … That’s false. You just lied...'

(Headline USA) Twitter CEO Elon Musk called out an interviewer for the British Broadcasting Corporation who attempted to claim that the red-pilled, billionaire entrepreneur had facilitated a rise in hate speech after taking over the social-media platform.

In the interview, the audio of which was live-streamed on the platform, the BBC’s James Clayton attempted to use his own anecdotal observations to claim that Musk had allowed “racist” and “sexist” content to flourish, the Daily Caller reported.

When pressed for specific examples, however, Clayton demurred, trying to frame himself as the messenger and not the inventor of the claim while citing strawman polls from “many organizations” within the United Kingdom.

“Well then I say, sir, that you don’t know what you’re talking about,” Musk said. “… That’s false. You just lied.”

Activist groups like the Anti-Defamation League have attempted to cherry-pick data to advance a narrative that Musk’s efforts to return free-speech to the censorious, highly partisan platform have, instead, had a pernicious effect.

But, as Musk reasoned, such claims were highly subjective based on the arbitrary metrics they used to define so-called hate-speech. The ADL notoriously includes in its expansive database of alleged hate symbols the “Okay Hand Gesture” that former President Donald Trump frequently used during his speeches.

“I’m trying to see what you mean by hateful content,” Musk challenged Clayton.

“I’m asking for specific examples, and you just said that if something is ‘slightly sexist,’ that’s hateful content,” he continued. “Does that mean that it should be banned?”

Twitter users trolled Clayton in response, suggesting he seek out a new line of work.

Musk also told Clayton during the interview that running Twitter has been “quite painful” from a financial standpoint but that the social media company is now roughly breaking even after he acquired it late last year.

Advertisers who had shunned the platform in the wake of Musk’s tumultuous acquisition have mostly returned, the billionaire said.

He predicted that Twitter could become “cash flow positive” in the current quarter “if current trends continue.” Because Twitter is a private company, information about its finances can’t be verified.

After acquiring the platform, Musk carried out mass layoffs as part of cost-cutting efforts. He said Twitter’s workforce has been slashed to about 1,500 employees from about 8,000 previously, describing it as something that had to be done.

“It’s not fun at all,” Musk said. “The company’s going to go bankrupt if we don’t cut costs immediately. This is not a caring-uncaring situation. It’s like if the whole ship sinks, then nobody’s got a job.”

Asked if he regretted buying the company, he said it was something that “needed to be done.”

“The pain level of Twitter has been extremely high. This hasn’t been some sort of party,” Musk said.

Nonetheless, he said the challenges had kept him engaged. “It’s not been boring. It’s quite a rollercoaster.”

At times, Musk laughed at his own jokes, mentioning more than once that he wasn’t the CEO but his dog Floki was.

He also revealed that he sometimes sleeps on a couch at Twitter’s San Francisco office.

Despite the tense exchanges, the interview was a rare chance for a mainstream news outlet to interview Musk, who also owns Tesla and SpaceX. After buying Twitter for $44 billion last year, Musk’s changes included eliminating the company’s communications department.

Reporters who email the company to seek comment now receive an auto-reply with a poop emoji.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press

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