Image Ronald Martinez / Getty
Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James reacted Saturday to a surge in reported hate speech on Twitter since Elon Musk acquired the platform on Thursday.
James responded to reports from Drew Harwell, Taylor Lorenz and Cat Zakrzewski about Washington Post, detailed findings from a research group known as the Network Infection Research Institute. The NCRI said the use of the N-word on Twitter increased by nearly 500% in the 12 hours after Musk took over.
LeBron tweeted the following, urging Musk and Twitter to take the news seriously:
LeBron James @KingJames
I don’t know Elon Musk and, tbh, I might care less than who owns twitter. But I will say that if this is true, I hope he and his people take this very seriously as this is scary AF. So many damn people say that hate speech is free speech. https://t.co/Sy0jvXIBnC
CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan and Clare Duffy on Thursday reported that Musk has completed a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter.
Musk, a 51-year-old South African native and the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, has been outspoken in his support of his right to free speech, which has led some Twitter users to prepare for the return of the company. Notable banned accounts, such as those of former US President Donald Trump, who eliminate from the foundation in 2021 “due to the risk of inciting further violence” following the January 6 uprising in the Capitol.
It also led to questions about whether accounts banned for racist language would be allowed to return or accounts using racist language would be allowed to continue to do so.
In response to questions about Twitter’s future, Musk noted that a content moderation committee will be formed:
Musk also noted that no decision on account recovery has been made, nor any changes have been made for the platform’s content moderation policy.
James is considered one of the greatest athletes of all time and has 52.3 million followers on Twitter, making him one of the most influential users of the platform.
Regardless of Musk’s plans for Twitter, he’ll no doubt be made aware of LeBron’s concerns once he takes over.