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Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James responded Saturday to a reported surge in hate speech on Twitter since Elon Musk took over the platform on Thursday.
James responded to a report from Drew Harwell, Taylor Lorenz and Cat Zakrzewski of the Washington Post, which detailed the findings of a research group called the Network Contagion Research Institute. The NCRI said the use of the N-word on Twitter increased by nearly 500 percent in the 12 hours after Musk took office.
LeBron tweeted the following, asking Musk and Twitter to take the information seriously:
LeBron James @King James
I don’t know Elon Musk and, tbh, I could care less who’s on twitter. But I will say that if this is true, I hope he and his family take this very seriously because this is scary AF. So many damn misfits saying hate speech is free speech. https://t.co/Sy0jvXIBnC
CNN on Donie O’Sullivan and Clare Duffy reported Thursday that Musk had finalized a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter.
Musk, a 51-year-old South African native and CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, has been outspoken about his support for free speech, leaving some Twitter users scrambling to returning significant suspended accounts, for example. former President of the United States Donald Trump, who was removal from the platform in 2021 “due to the risk of further incitement to violence” after the January 6 Capitol uprising.
Questions have also arisen about whether accounts banned for racist rhetoric will be allowed back, or whether accounts using racist language will be allowed to continue to do so.
In response to questions about Twitter’s future, Musk noted the creation of a content moderation council:
Musk also noted that no decisions have been made regarding possible account reinstatement, and they haven’t no changes made with 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 on the platform.
Regardless of Musk’s plans for Twitter, he will no doubt be informed of LeBron’s concerns following his takeover.