'Challenge Accepted': Mehdi Hasan Checks Elon Musk's Wild Claim About Hate Speech

MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan revisited Elon Musk’s previous denial that hate speech has risen on the site formerly known as Twitter since the Tesla CEO acquired it last year for $44 billion ― and the claim looks even more absurd in hindsight. (See the video below.)

“Hiding behind the convenient mantra of free speech, Musk isn’t just winking at the bigots ― he’s cheering them on,” Hasan said in a clip shared Thursday in response to a study about hate speech on the platform.

“Platforming, encouraging them, amplifying them, using a global social media site he bought because he said he wanted to help humanity, to bring out the worst in humanity,” he continued. “And we will all be living with the toxic, dangerous, perhaps violent consequences of this for years to come.”

In a “deep-dive” segment, the host began by pointing to a BBC reporter’s interview with Musk in April. Hasan said the journalist “didn’t come prepared” and “didn’t have any receipts” to back up his claim that he sees more hate speech on the platform.

“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, you just lied,” Musk told BBC reporter James Clayton at the time.

“Challenge accepted,” Hasan said on his show.

Hasan went on to explain “endless examples” of hate speech on the platform. He cited a rise in antisemitic speech, use of the N-word and morehateful content on the platform, including posts from paid subscribers that researchers said the platform failed to act on.

“The hate on that website seems to get worse week after week, month after month, since his [April] interview with the BBC,” said Hasan, who noted that Musk has brought back accounts following suspensions for hate speech.

The host added that Musk has replied to hateful content, amplifying it to his followers.

“Those replies are incredibly powerful, his one-word replies ‘interesting’ and ‘concerning,’ spread these kinds of hateful falsehoods to more than 150 million followers, more reach than probably any other users on the platform,” Hasan said.

“Still, you might say, he’s a reply guy,” he continued. “He likes to engage. But it’s not if he’s producing hate-filled or bigoted tweets, right? Right? Unfortunately, wrong.”