Twitter CEO Elon Musk accused a BBC journalist of lying when the latter failed to cite examples of hate speech being allowed on the social media platform.
In a wide-ranging interview, the BBC journalist asked Musk how he planned to tackle incidents of hate speech being reported on Twitter amid claims of staff shortage to police hateful content. When Musk asked the journalist to cite some examples of hate speech on Twitter, he declined to do so.
“What hate speech are you talking about? I mean, you use Twitter. Do you see a rise in hate speech? Just a personal anecdote? I don’t,” Musk said.
BBC ‘journalism’ at its finest 🤦🏻♂️
— Darren Grimes (@darrengrimes_) April 12, 2023
“Honestly, I don’t. I don’t actually use that feed anymore because I just don’t particularly like it,” said the journalist on Twitter’s ‘For You’ feature. “And actually a lot of people are quite similar. I only look at my followers.”
Elon Musk to BBC Reporter: “You can’t give a single example”
“I’m asking for one example and you can’t give a single one. Then I say, sir, that you don’t know what you are talking about. You cannot give me a single example of hateful content, not even one tweet. And yet you claimed that hateful content was high. That is false, you just lied,” Musk replied.
He claimed that there was less misinformation on Twitter since the takeover, and that his efforts to delete bots – automated accounts – will decrease fake news.
Twitter recently labeled the BBC as a “government-funded media”, leading to a sharp reaction from the British public broadcaster.
Musk confirmed Twitter will change its newly added label for the BBC’s account to say it is “publicly funded” instead.
Musk: I think I should not tweet after 3 am
In the interview, Musk said that running Twitter has been “quite painful” and “a rollercoaster”. The multi-billionaire entrepreneur also said he would sell the company if the right person came along.
Asked whether he had any regrets about buying Twitter, the world’s second richest man said the “pain level has been extremely high, this hasn’t been some kind of party”.
Talking about his time at the helm so far, Musk said: “It’s not been boring. It’s been quite a rollercoaster.”
It has been “really quite a stressful situation over the last several months”, he added, but said he still felt that buying the company was the right thing to do.
Things are going “reasonably well”, Musk told the BBC, stating that usage of the site is up and “the site works”.
The workload means that “I sometimes sleep in the office”, he said, adding that he has a spot on a couch in a library “that nobody goes to”.
And he also addressed his sometimes controversial tweets saying: “Have I shot myself in the foot with tweets multiple times? Yes.”
“I think I should not tweet after 3 am,” he added.
Musk has now become the most followed person on the social media platform. As of last week, Musk had accumulated a total of approximately 133.05 million followers, surpassing the former United States President Barack Obama, who has around 133.04 million followers.