Four takeaways from Elon Musk’s rare interview with BBC
World’s second richest man Elon Musk was questioned for roughly an hour in a rare and wide-ranging interview with the BBC at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco.
Here are four things we could learn.
1. He denies hateful content on Twitter has increased
The Tesla CEO refused to accept there was more hate speech on the platform since he took over last year.
But earlier this year, some Twitter insiders had raised concerns over the company no longer being able to protect netizens from hate speech, child sexual exploitation, and state-coordinated disinformation, following widespread changes and controversial layoffs under its new owner.
In March, the company said it removed 400,000 accounts in just one month to make Twitter relatively safe.
We need a couple of things in order to fully assess Musk’s claims, and both of them aren’t available at the moment: one, access to the company’s data before and after the takeover, and two, a better understanding of how its owner defines hate speech and misinformation.
2. He didn’t vote for Trump
The last US election saw close to half the country voting for the former president, Donald Trump, Musk said, adding he wasn’t one of them. “I voted for Biden.”
Nevertheless, in another part of the interview, he defended ending a Twitter ban on the politician who was removed in 2021 when the platform accused him of inciting violence.
3. He believes there is less misinfo rather than more
Musk claimed his efforts to remove automated accounts or bots had reduced misinformation on the platform since his takeover. But some outside experts disagree.
In the week following the acquisition, the most popular, untrustworthy accounts on Twitter saw a roughly 60% spike in engagement, according to a study from Newsguard.
Moreover, the BBC has also found that over a third of more than 1,000 previously banned accounts that were allowed back after the takeover had spread abuse or misinformation again.
4. He is against any moves to close down TikTok
Musk says he doesn’t use TikTok but he is against any moves to shut it down. The US is considering banning the most downloaded app in the country due to security concerns over the platform’s Chinese ownership.
But he indeed mentioned that a ban would be beneficial for Twitter as it may mean a greater number of netizens spending time on his platform.