Elon Musk Claims There’s ‘No Proof’ Swastika-Tatted Texas Shooter Was White Supremacist
Elon Musk sat down with CNBC’s David Faber for an interview where he declared he doesn’t give a shit if his tweets damage his companies. [quote?]
Musk has spent the last several weeks tweeting and boosting unfounded conspiracy theories about mass shootings, George Soros, and migrants. But in his mind, he is like Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, telling his enemies that they can “offer me money, offer me power,” but I “don’t care.”
Faber confronted Musk about the kinds of tweets that are sending advertisers fleeing from his platform, including his recent claims that evidence a mass shooter who killed 8 people outside an Allen, Texas mall ascribed to white supremacist beliefs was a “bad psyop.”
“I think it was incorrectly ascribed to be a white supremacist action,” Musk said, claiming that Bellingcat’s discovery of a social media profile outlining his beliefs was not credible. “Have you heard what Bellingcat does? Psyops.” Musk added.
“I’m saying that I thought ascribing it to white supremacy was bullshit,” he said.
“There’s no proof, by the way, that he was not,” Faber said.
“I would say there’s no proof that he is,” Musk countered. Documents from the FBI and other officials have unveiled the shooter posted neo-Nazi content. Police have confirmed that photos of the shooters swastika and “SS” tattoos circulating on social media were genuine, and said the investigation has established that he harbored “neo-Nazi ideation.”
On Monday, Musk tweeted that Jewish billionaire Goerge Soros, the subject of many antisemitic conspiracy theories “reminds him of Magneto” When another user pointed out that both Magneto and Soros had survived the Holocaust, Musk responded that Soros does not have “good intentions” and wants to “erode the very fabric of civilization. Soros hates humanity.”
When asked about the tweets during his interview with Faberr, Musk fell back on his claims of “freedom of speech,” and insisted that his thoughts on Soros were not rooted in antisemitism, “I’m like a pro-semite if anything,” he said.
“We don’t want to make this a George Soros interview,” Musk added.
Musk’s rollback of content safety standards under the guise of free speech has been a hallmark of his tenure as Twitter’s owner. When Faber asked Musk how he planned to police lies on the platform, the billionaire fell back on Community Notes, an exploitable function that allows a select group of users to attach a public “note” to tweets.
“My overall vision for X, or Twitter, is to be a cybernetic, collective mind for humanity,” Musk said. “In pursuit of that objective, you want to have information move quickly, have that information be accurate, and you want to have error correction on that information. Think of Community Notes as like an error correction on information in the network.”
Musk claimed the notes were a deterrent to misinformation because it’s “embarrassing” for users to get “noted.”
The Notes effect on misinformation and hate speech has not panned out according to Musk’s alleged plans. A recent study found that instances of antisemitic hate speech have nearly doubled on the platform since Musk’s takeover. In addition, Musk’s replacement of Twitter’s previous account verification scheme with a pay-to-play purchase system has led to an increase in the prevalence and reach of falsehoods and impersonations on the platform.
The platform is rapidly becoming a hostile place to the average user. Last week, the platform was forced to shut down its suggested search term function after users were served recommendations of videos featuring animal torture. Experts speculate that the issue was likely a long-term effect of the mass firings conducted by Musk following his takeover of the platform.
Musk told Faber that he “did not have the time” to properly review which employees were critical to Twitter’s function when he cleaned house. “There’s no question that some of the people who were let go, probably shouldn’t have been let go,” he said.
“We absolutely need to hire people,” he added. “And if they’re not too mad at us, probably rehire some people that were let go”
This article was updated on May 16, 2023, at 9:35 PM to include additional details about the Allen, Texas shooter.