July 25, 2024

Elon Musk himself is apparently not immune to content moderation on his own platform.

X, formerly known as Twitter, reportedly took down a post that Musk re-shared this week because it violated the platform’s rules.

The billionaire owner of X responded to an NBC News article posted on its account about violence that’s been spreading across Haiti and the country’s ongoing humanitarian crisis. The NBC article specifically referred to posts from Musk and conservative personalities promoting unverified claims about cannibalistic gangs in Haiti.

Musk wrote in response to the article, “What do you call this?” He then linked to a graphic clip purporting to show cannibalism in Haiti, Bloomberg reported. Business Insider viewed Musk’s post, but was unable to verify the contents of the video clip, which X removed from the platform with a note stating it violated the “X Rules.”

screenshots of Musk's post

When you click the blue link Musk shared, you then see the message “This post violated the X Rules.”

Elon Musk/X

A spokesperson for the US State Department told Business Insider that it has not “received any credible reports regarding this claim,” referring to the rumors of cannibalism in Haiti, and that “people should seek fact-based verification of sensational claims from credible sources before sharing on social media.

Despite the lack of credible evidence, claims about cannibalism in Haiti have continued to spread on X. The videos being shared, some of which are years old, were most likely created by violent gangs as an intimidation tactic to scare locals, rather than evidence of widespread cannibalistic behavior, NBC News reported.

Musk tied the rumors to fears over Haitian immigration to the US.

In response to a post from right-wing personality Ian Miles Cheong, Musk wrote, “If wanting to screen immigrants for potential homicidal tendencies and cannibalism makes me ‘right wing’, then I would gladly accept such a label! Failure to do so would put innocent Americans in mortal risk.”

Musk, who calls himself a “free speech absolutist,” laid off hundreds of content moderation staff when he took over Twitter, renaming it X, in 2022.

Shortly after Musk’s takeover, reports of the N-word being used on the platform surged by nearly 500%, according to data from the Network Contagion Research Institute. And hateful speech and disinformation has plagued the platform ever since, just as experts warned.

X, which typically ignores requests from journalists, said it was too busy to respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

March 14, 2024: This article has been updated to include a comment from the US State Department.


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