Entrepreneur and cultural maverick Elon Musk struck back at the Associated Press (AP) via Twitter on Friday, demanding that the platform provide sources for or retract a story about discussion of the 2020 presidential election on Twitter.
The heart of the dispute concerns an article by AP about Twitter users disputing the outcome of the most recent presidential contest, which many Republicans believe was rigged by various means to the benefit of incumbent president Joe Biden.
Musk himself is avowedly skeptical of the notion that the 2020 election was stolen and went so far as to promise that instances of the claim “will be corrected” on the platform.
The article claims that Musk has taken little or no meaningful action towards that end, stating that the 10 most shared tweets professing that the 2020 election was stolen all remain unlabelled by the “Community Notes” feature, which allows users to correct or provide valuable context to tweets.
“Either back up your claims @AP with actual source data or retract your story,” Musk tweeted in response to the article.
Since taking the helm of Twitter as the platform’s sole owner and CEO last summer, Musk has made a display of holding establishment media outlets to their own professed standards of facts and evidence.
Musk notably introduced the “Community Notes” feature on Twitter, the successor to the “Birdwatch” feature under Twitter’s old administration that attached condescending blurbs of context or factual corrections to controversial tweets, almost exclusively countersignaling right wing sources.
The practice began in May 2020 when Twitter unprecedentedly added a blurb under a tweet by former President Donald Trump, saying that his claims about mail-in ballots had been “debunked” by fact-checkers.
Musk’s approach to the feature emphasizes transparency and decentralized community involvement, and it has several times made embarrassing corrections to progressive politicians and media outlets.
While Musk himself has been on the receiving end of corrective Community Notes at his own expense, the Afrikaner entrepreneur has maintained the feature throughout his tenure in keeping with his professed commitment to free speech and ideological diversity.
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