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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 bought the platform on Thursday.
James responded to a report by Drew Harwell, Taylor Lorenz, and Cat Zakrzewski Washington Post, which details findings from a research group known as the Network Contagion Research Institute. NCRI said N-word usage on Twitter increased nearly 500 percent in the 12 hours after Musk took over.
LeBron tweeted the following, asking Musk and Twitter to take this information seriously:
LeBron James @King James
I don’t know Elon Musk, and tbh, I couldn’t care less who owns Twitter. But I will say that if it’s true, I hope he and his people take it very seriously, because it’s scary AF. So many damn inappropriate people say hate speech is free speech. https://t.co/Sy0jvXIBnC
CNN Donnie O’Sullivan and Claire Duffy reported on Thursday that Musk had completed a $44 billion deal to acquire Twitter.
Musk, a 51-year-old South African who is the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, has been outspoken in his support for free speech, leading some Twitter users to bring back prominent banned accounts, such as former US President Donald Trump, who was removed from the platform in 2021, “due to the risk of inciting further violence” after the January 6 Capitol uprising.
It has also raised questions about whether accounts banned for racist rhetoric will be allowed back, or whether accounts that use racist language will be able to continue to do so.
In response to questions about the future of Twitter, Musk noted that a content moderation board would be created:
Musk also stated that no decisions have been made and have not been made regarding the possible restoration of the accounts any changes 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 most influential users on the platform.
Regardless of Musk’s plans for Twitter, he will undoubtedly be informed of LeBron’s concerns after he takes over.