The Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James responded to reports that there had been an increase in racial slurs used on Twitter following Elon Musk’s acquisition of the platform by saying that Musk needed to take it seriously.
James was responding to a report in The Washington Post that claimed that there had been a 500% increase in the use of the n-word on Twitter following Musk taking over. “Several posts on 4chan encourage users to amplify derogatory slurs,” the report said, suggesting that the increase in the use of slurs may not have been completely organic, which The Post did not mention.
The study that The Washington Post used said that “bad actors” were “trying to test the limits” on Twitter, even though no content moderation changes have been made.
Evidence suggests that bad actors are trying to test the limits on @Twitter. Several posts on 4chan encourage users to amplify derogatory slurs.
For example, over the last 12 hours, the use of the n-word has increased nearly 500% from the previous average. pic.twitter.com/mEqziaWuMF
— Network Contagion Research Institute (@ncri_io) October 28, 2022
“I dont know Elon Musk and, tbh, I could care less who owns twitter,” James tweeted. “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.”
James faced widespread backlash over his remarks, which came a day after a deranged lunatic broke into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) San Francisco home and attacked her husband with a hammer.
Many Twitter users were quick to remind James of when he targeted a police officer on the platform who defended a black woman who was being attacked. “YOU’RE NEXT,” James tweeted. “#ACCOUNTABILITY.”
“LeBron James doxxed a heroic police officer and implied he should go to prison for life,” sports writer David Hookstead tweeted. “Now, he’s concerned about ‘hate speech.’ Did he ask China permission before sending this tweet?”
Please, lecture us some more about “unfit people” making tweets, @KingJames https://t.co/squlKgNxXl pic.twitter.com/fofMGgtIii
— Viva Frei (@thevivafrei) October 30, 2022
“Hate speech protected under the First Amendment, as it should be,” journalist Colin Wright tweeted.
YouTuber Tim Pool tweeted, “Hate speech is free speech.”
“LeBron only wants to hear the N-word in rap music,” podcast host Jason Whitlock tweeted. “It’s a term of endearment in rap. When LeBron dropped the N-word on HBO’s The Shop it was a good thing. But now it’s scary AF. Gotcha.”
Musk outlined a new content moderation strategy in a tweet on Friday, writing: “Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints.”
“No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes,” he added. “To be super clear, we have not yet made any changes to Twitter’s content moderation policies.”
Musk released a statement Thursday to advertisers explaining why he wanted to buy Twitter and ensuring them that they do not have to worry about Twitter becoming a “free-for-all hellscape.”
“I wanted to reach out personally to share my motivation in acquiring Twitter,” Musk wrote. “There has been much speculation about why I bought Twitter and what I think about advertising. Most of it has been wrong.”
“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” Musk continued. “There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right wing and far left wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.”
“In the relentless pursuit of clicks, much of traditional media has fueled and catered to those polarized extremes, as they believe that is what brings in the money, but, in doing so, the opportunity for dialogue is lost,” Musk continued. “That is why I bought Twitter. I didn’t do it because it would be easy. I didn’t do it to make more money. I did it to try to help humanity, whom I love. And I do so with humility, recognizing that failure in pursuing this goal, despite our best efforts, is a very real possibility.”
“That said, Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!” Musk concluded. “In addition to adhering to the laws of the land, our platform must be warm and welcoming to all, where you can choose your desired experience according to your preferences, just as you can choose, for example, to see movies or play video games ranging from all ages to mature.”