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Elon Musk responds to LeBron James tweet on alleged spike in racial slurs on Twitter

In a April 30, 2015 file photo, Tesla Motors CEO and SpaceX CEO and CTO Elon Musk introduces a new line of residential and commercial batteries. (Jerome Adamstein/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
November 01, 2022

On Saturday, NBA star LeBron James’ tweeted about an alleged “surge in the use of the N-word” on Twitter since billionaire Elon Musk acquired the social media platform last week. Musk responded to James tweet, asserting that nearly all of the accounts involved in a racial-slur trolling campaign are “inauthentic.”

On Saturday, James shared a tweet claiming that Musk’s takeover of Twitter “sparked a surge in the use of the N-word on the social media platform.”

“I dont know Elon Musk and, tbh, I could care less who owns twitter. 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 said of the alleged increase in racial slurs on the platform.

Musk replied to James’ tweet with another tweet by Yoel Roth, Twitter’s Head of Safety & Integrity, which asserted nearly all of the accounts tweeting racial slurs are “inauthentic.”

“Let’s talk for a minute about slurs, hateful conduct, and trolling campaigns. Bottom line up front: Twitter’s policies haven’t changed. Hateful conduct has no place here. And we’re taking steps to put a stop to an organized effort to make people think we have,” Roth wrote in the Twitter thread.

“Our Rules prohibit Hateful Conduct. This includes targeting people with dehumanizing content and slurs. This DOESN’T mean we have a list of words that are always banned. Context matters. For example, our policies are written to protect reclaimed speech,” Roth continued.

“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,” he added. “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.”