LeBron James’ Controversial Tweet Gets Response From Elon Musk

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

After months of back and forth, Elon Musk finally completed his $44 billion acquisition of the massively popular social media platform, Twitter, on Friday. An ardent supporter of free speech, Musk frequently uses his own Twitter account to poke fun at those he feels are far too easily offended. He even tweeted things like “comedy is now legal on Twitter” and “the bird is freed” following his monumental purchase.

With Elon Musk as “Chief Twit,” as he calls it, some worried that Twitter would devolve into chaos, the site’s banter and not-quite-civil debate replaced with rampant hate speech. And when The Washington Post reported that the use of slurs had increased by nearly 500% in the span of hours, their fears appeared to be justified.

NBA legend LeBron James himself fed into the growing alarm, citing the Washington Post article in a concerned tweet. “I don’t know Elon Musk and, tbh, I could care less who owns Twitter,” LeBron James wrote. “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.”

The tweet quickly went viral, drawing a mixed reaction from other users. While some agreed with LeBron James wholeheartedly, others advised the NBA star to simply block and move on, should he encounter offensive language.

Eventually, LeBron James’ tweet spread to such an extent that Elon Musk himself replied, citing his own knowledge of the behind-the-scenes running of Twitter, as well as the research of his team.

Elon Musk Responds to LeBron James’ Tweet

According to Elon Musk and his team, the fears of LeBron James and others are somewhat unfounded.

In reply to LeBron James, Elon Musk provided a thread written by Twitter’s Head of Safety and Integrity, Yoel Roth. In it, the Twitter official explained that an extremely small number of accounts are responsible for a shocking number of the hateful tweets.

“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,” Roth said. “To give you a sense of scale: More than 50,000 Tweets repeatedly using a particular slur came from just 300 accounts.”

“Nearly all of these accounts are inauthentic,” he continued. “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.”

Unbeknownst to LeBron James, Elon Musk had already addressed users’ concerns the day prior to his tweet. “Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints,” Musk wrote. “No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.”

“To be super clear, we have no yet made any changes to Twitter’s content moderation policies,” he added.