Twitter CEO Elon Musk criticized BBC reporter James Clayton during an interview after the journalist consistently tried to insist that Twitter was enabling the proliferation of hate speech, but then failed to provide any proof of such content.
In the interview on April 11 at Twitter headquarters, Clayton insists that hate speech content has risen on Twitter. But when Musk asked him to provide an example of such content, Clayton was unable to do so. “I’d say that you don’t know what you are talking about … because you can’t give a single example of hateful content. Not even one tweet. And yet you claimed that hateful content was high. That’s false. That’s a lie,” Musk said.
The reporter then went on to claim that there are “many organizations that say that that kind of information [hateful content] is on the rise” on Twitter. Musk once more asked Clayton to give one example. “You literally can’t even give one,” the industrialist stated.
Clayton then claimed that he hasn’t “actually looked” at the Twitter feed. Musk countered, “Then, how would you know there is hateful content?”
The reporter then switched topics, moving to COVID-19 misinformation. Following the outbreak of the pandemic, Twitter implemented a slew of measures, including warnings and labels on tweets, that it labeled as misinformation.
Must took over Twitter in late October 2022. And on Nov. 23, Twitter announced that it was “no longer enforcing the COVID-19 misleading information policy.”
In the interview, Clayton asked Musk why Twitter decided to do away with the misinformation labels. Musk pointed out that COVID-19 is “no longer an issue.”
The CEO asked Clayton whether the BBC holds itself responsible for misinformation regarding masking and the side effects of vaccinations. “And what about the fact that the BBC was put under pressure by the British government to change its editorial policy? Are you aware of that?” Musk asked.
Clayton did not answer these questions. Instead, he simply claimed that he is not a representative of BBC’s editorial policy.
“The BBC pushed out so much misinformation about COVID vaccines and masking and they were under pressure from the British government to lie to the public. Elon Musk absolutely destroyed him and turned the tables on this interview,” social media influencer Ian Miles Cheong said in a tweet on April 12.
BBC Twitter Label
In his interview with Clayton, Musk also confirmed that Twitter is planning to designate BBC’s account on the platform to “publicly funded” media rather than the “government-funded media” label currently active.
BBC had earlier contacted Musk regarding the designation. “The BBC is, and always has been, independent. We are funded by the British public through the licence fee,” the outlet said.
In an email to BBC, Musk wrote that “we are aiming for maximum transparency and accuracy. Linking to ownership and source of funds probably makes sense. I do think media organizations should be self-aware and not falsely claim the complete absence of bias.”
However, the BBC’s claim that it is funded by the public is not fully accurate. UK law requires citizens of the United Kingdom who watch live television to pay £159 ($197) annually as licensing fee to the BBC irrespective of whether they watch the channel or not. If a resident fails in paying the license fee, they could face criminal fines and even jail time.
In 2022, licensing fees paid by UK residents accounted for £3.8 billion, or 71 percent, of BBC’s total income of £5.3 billion. The rest of the funding came from royalties, rental income, and grants. It receives over £90 million annually from the government.
From The Epoch Times