Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James on Saturday responded to a reported increase in hate speech on Twitter since Elon Musk̵[ads1]7;s acquisition of the platform on Thursday.
James was responding to a report from Drew Harwell, Taylor Lorenz and Cat Zakrzewski from Washington Post, which detailed findings from a research group known as the Network Contagion Research Institute. The NCRI said that use of the N-word on Twitter increased by nearly 500 percent in the 12 hours after Musk took over.
LeBron tweeted the following, asking Musk and Twitter to take the information seriously:
LeBron James @King James
I don’t 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 unfit people saying hate speech is free speech. https://t.co/Sy0jvXIBnC
CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan and Clare Duffy reported Thursday that Musk had finalized a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter.
Musk, a 51-year-old native of South Africa and CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, has been outspoken about his support for free speech, prompting some Twitter users to brace for the return of notable suspended accounts, like for example. that of former US President Donald Trump, who was removed from the platform in 2021 “because of the risk of further incitement to violence” after the January 6 Capitol riot.
It has also led to questions about whether accounts banned for racist rhetoric will be allowed back, or whether accounts that use racist language will be allowed to continue to do so.
In response to questions about the future of Twitter, Musk noted that a content moderation council would be created:
Musk also noted that no decisions regarding the potential recovery of accounts have been made, nor have they been any changes have been made to the platform’s guidelines for content moderation.
James is considered one of the greatest athletes of all time and has 52.3 million followers on Twitter, making him one of the platform’s most influential users.
Regardless of Musk’s plans for Twitter, he will undoubtedly be made aware of LeBron’s concerns in the wake of the takeover.