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Elon Musk claims Twitter is ‘biased against half of the country’

TWITTER-MUSK (AP)
TWITTER-MUSK (AP)

Elon Musk has claimed that Twitter is “biased against half of the country”.

The multibillionaire, who is set to purchase the social media company for $44 billion, made the allegation in response to the claim made by viral Twitter account LibsofTikTok – ran by former real estate salesperson Chaya Raichik – that she was receiving death threats on Twitter.

The account, which has been described as a “wire service for the broader right-wing media ecosystem,” by Media Matters, shares content from TikTok on Twitter. It currently has 1.9 million followers.

Ms Raichik claimed that she had been receiving “about a dozen” death threats on Twitter, but the social media company “has not removed any of the accounts of those who sent the threats.”

However, one user apparently sent a threat as a “joke” to “satari[se] similar messages the account received.

In response to Ms Raichik’s tweet, Mr Musk replied “Why” and tagged the official Twitter account. He shortly followed up with another tweet: “A platform cannot be considered inclusive or fair if it is biased against half the country”.

Ms Raichik also alleged that Twitter staff are “debating whether to ban” her account, claiming that she has screenshots of internal conversations. Neither Mr Raichik nor Twitter responded to a request for comment from The Independent before time of publication.

Mr Musk, who has called himself a ‘free speech absolutist’, has tweeted against the alleged “left wing bias” of Twitter before, which the company has denied; he has also targeted employees such as its head of legal, policy and trust Vijaya Gadde, for Twitter’s policies that he believes have unfairly targeted right-wing users.

However, Facebook’s former security chief Alex Stamos has claimed that that Elon Musk’s ideas to address this claimed imbalance would “give him a stroke” and is like “watching a baby play with a blender from behind a plexiglass barrier.”

He added: “The Twitter T&S team is not a bunch of censorious liberals as he assumes. If he actually spoke to them, he would realize that they are trying to balance a lot of important equities at scale and that each decision involves hard tradeoffs that don’t easily fit in a tweet”.

Despite Mr Musk’s apparent intention to purchase Twitter, the billionaire has claimed the deal is ‘on hold’ because of the number of bots on the platform. Mr Musk has said the company was attempting to ‘resist and thwart’ his information rights, but waived his right to due diligence before purchasing the company.

Mr Musk has argued, without presenting evidence, that Twitter has significantly played down the number of these “spam bots” - automated accounts that typically promote scams and misinformation - on its service.

Twitter chief Parag Agrawal said that approximately five per cent of its accounts are spam in a detailed thread, which Mr Musk replied to with a poop emogi.

It has been reported that Twitter will now give Mr Musk access to reams of raw data so he can assess its claims. The company has stated it will “continue to cooperatively share information with Mr Musk to consummate the transaction in accordance with the terms of the merger agreement”.