Elon Musk has fired back after The Associated Press (AP) published an article alleging that “false claims of a stolen election thrive unchecked on Twitter.”
Musk objected to the article by calling on the media outlet to back up its assertion with evidence or retract the piece.
The article, published by AP on May 18, cites Musk’s interview earlier in the week on CNBC.
During the interview, Musk pledged that false claims on Twitter “will be corrected” by the platform’s user-generated Community Notes system.
Musk was responding to a question by the interviewer about claims made by Twitter users that the 2020 election was “rigged” or “stolen.”
He was asked whether such claims would end up tagged with a community note or would face other actions.
“To be clear, I don’t think it was a stolen election,” Musk replied.
He then continued by adding that he believes there was some election fraud in 2020.
“By the same token, if somebody is going to say that there is never any election fraud anywhere, this is obviously false,” Musk added.
“If 100 million people vote, the probability that the fraud is zero—is zero.”
Musk went on to say that it’s important to strike a balance in discussions around election integrity by acknowledging that there’s going to be a non-zero amount of fraud without claiming that “the fraud was sufficient to change the outcome.”
The interviewer then pressed Musk whether “you are going to let people say that on Twitter,” referring to allegedly false claims.
“They will be corrected, 100 percent,” Musk said in the interview.
In its article, the AP claimed that claims of a stolen election have proliferated on Twitter since President Donald Trump held a town hall on CNN.
During the town hall, Trump asserted that the 2020 election was rigged.
“Yet many such claims have thrived on Twitter in the week since former President Donald Trump spent much of a CNN town hall digging in on his lie that the 2020 election was ‘rigged’ against him,” the AP article reads.
“Twitter posts that amplified those false claims have thousands of shares with no visible enforcement, a review of posts on the platform shows.”
The article then said that an analysis by media intelligence firm Zignal Labs carried out on behalf of AP had identified the 10 most widely shared tweets promoting a “rigged election” narrative following Trump’s appearance on CNN.
“While Twitter has a system in place for users to add context to misleading tweets, the 10 posts, which collectively amassed more than 43,000 retweets, had no such notes attached,” the article claims.
However, the AP failed to provide specific evidence, such as the tweets in question.
Musk reacted critically to the piece, demanding that AP provide the source data in support of its key claims or pull the article.
“Either back up your claims @AP with actual source data or retract your story,” Musk wrote in a tweet.
Either back up your claims @AP with actual source data or retract your story
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 19, 2023
AP has yet to publicly respond to Musk’s request.
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