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Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James on Saturday responded to a reported increase in hate speech on Twitter since Elon Musk’s acquisition of the platform on Thursday.
James was responding to a report from Drew Harwell, Taylor Lorenz and Cat Zakrzewski of the Washington Post, which contains detailed findings from a research group known as the Network Contagion Research Institute. The NCRI said 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 @KingJames
I don’t know Elon Musk, and yet I could care less who owns twitter. But I will say that if it is true, I hope he and his people take it very seriously, because it is scary AF. So many damn misfits who say 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, who is a 51-year-old native of South Africa and the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, has been outspoken about his support for free speech, prompting some Twitter users to call for the return of notably banned accounts. such as that of former US President Donald Trump, who was remove from the platform in 2021 “due to the risk of further inciting violence” after the January 6 Capitol uprising.
It also led to questions about whether accounts banned for racist rhetoric would be reinstated, or whether accounts using racist language would be allowed to continue.
In response to questions about the future of Twitter, Musk noted that a content moderation board would be created:
Musk also noted that no decisions have been made about the possible reinstatement of accounts, nor have they been any changes have been made to the platform’s content moderation policy.
Considered one of the greatest athletes of all time, James 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 no doubt be made aware of LeBron’s concerns in the wake of his takeover.