Elon Musk, BBC Reporter Clash In Twitter Spaces Over Hate Speech, Layoffs And COVID-19

On Tuesday night, Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk was interviewed by James Clayton, the technology reporter for BBC North America. During the course of the interview, conducted on Twitter Spaces, the billionaire entrepreneur turned the tables and for a time became the interviewer.

What Happened: Clayton raised a number of questions surrounding layoffs at Twitter and the issues of hate speech and misinformation on the platform.

Musk was asked why the laid-off employees were not given notice. He was asked if he had any regrets about the way the staff was let go. The Twitter CEO retorted that they were given severance pay. 

Addressing freedom of speech over misinformation. "Who is to say something is misinformation, is it the BBC?"

Clayton said he had personally seen a rise in hate speech recently. Musk then asked for specific examples of such speech on Twitter.

Musk pointed out that Clayton couldn't cite even a single instance of hateful content. The conversation between them then took a heated turn. 

The BBC reporter then asked about COVID-19 misinformation and why Twitter changed its policy. Musk asked, in return, if the BBC had changed its own misinformation on the disease. He also added, "COVID is no longer an issue."

Why It Matters: This month, Musk-led Twitter changed the labels applicable to National Public Radio, BBC, and some other news organizations.

BBC objected to the "government-funded" media label and said it was funded by the "British public" through a license fee.

Clayton later said on Twitter that Musk mentioned labeling is "part of [the] move for transparency" and that he actually quite likes the BBC.

Read Next: Elon Musk Has This To Say On A Twitter Curfew — ‘I Shouldn’t Tweet After 3 AM’

Image generated using Midjourney

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