Elon Musk appears to have breached Twitter’s rules against posting satire without a disclaimer, only to dismiss the fake news as a jibe at CNN. Monday, Elon Musk spoofed a cable news network by publishing a Photoshopped photograph of anchor Don Lemon with a phony news story’s headline.
Musk tweeted, “CNN: Elon Musk could threaten free speech on Twitter by literally allowing people to speak freely.” The image featured a screenshot of Lemon alongside a stock photograph of Musk. The chyron below the headline is identical. Twitter users quickly appended a disclaimer to Musk’s statement, informing site visitors that the CNN article was fabricated.
The disclaimer stated, “The screencap in this image is not real and originated from a satirical website.” CNN’s public relations staff published a screenshot of Musk’s tweet along with a disclaimer stating that the tweet violated Twitter’s terms of service. “This headline never appeared on CNN. Be better,” tweeted CNN’s PR team to Musk.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 28, 2022
“CNN aired no such report about Musk ‘threatening free speech’ and the chyron has been digitally altered to add the text.” Musk responded to CNN’s reaction with “Lmaoooo” These initials stand for “laughing my *** off.” After assuming control of Twitter, Musk introduced a new verification subscription plan whereby Twitter users who pay $8 per month could receive a blue check next to their name indicating that they are verified.
But mayhem occurred when pranksters assumed the identities of celebrities, politicians, and huge corporations on Twitter and posted bogus stuff designed to make them appear bad. Musk was compelled to halt the launch of the subscription service. He has also begun banning impersonators on Twitter.
This headline never appeared on CNN. Be better. pic.twitter.com/n8xGp2Z6qm
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) November 28, 2022
Musk then forced Twitter users who planned to impersonate others to mark their accounts as parody. Musk wrote earlier this month, “From now on, any Twitter accounts engaged in impersonation without clearly declaring ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended.” “Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning. This will be clearly identified as a condition for signing up to Twitter Blue.”
“Any name change at all will cause temporary loss of verified checkmark.” In April, the Associated Press published a fact-checking article revealing that Musk’s meme was initially circulated online by the satirical news outlet Genesius Times, which calls itself as “the most trustworthy source of false news on the planet.”
Screenshots of the image and headline, without any indication that it was a parody, went rapidly online. While several people pointed out that the original article is intended to be comical and that the image is a meme, others on Facebook and Twitter seemed to believe the image originated from a legitimate CNN program. A Facebook post including only the headline and image attracted over a thousand likes and shares, along with comments blasting CNN for allegedly publishing the story.
“Makes total sense …to CNN. Doesn’t matter much if you check CNN’s ratings,” one user wrote. Others sharing the image wrote “CNN should be shut down,” and “They do not support the constitution.” A Twitter user who shared the article and image with the simple phrase “Wait… WHAT?!?” received over 4,000 shares and 10,000 likes.
What’s going on here @tim_cook?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 28, 2022
However, the photograph and report are satirical and not genuine. Musk criticized Apple on Monday night for supposedly withdrawing their advertisements from Twitter. “Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America?” Musk tweeted. “What’s going on here @timcook?” The Post has reached out to Apple for comment.
According to Financial Times, Musk reached out to the CEOs of firms that had removed their ads from Twitter in recent weeks last week. Since assuming control of the social media platform, Musk has changed its content moderation methods and reinstated previously banned contentious accounts. Musk fulfilled his promise to revive former President Donald Trump’s Twitter account, which had been disabled in the wake of the incident at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Despite recent anti-Semitic posts, he has also reinstated Kanye West and the satirical news site Babylon Bee, among others. According to reports, Madison Avenue firms cautioned Musk that reinstating contentious accounts would force major brands to remove their advertisements from Twitter. The pro-Democratic watchdog group Media Matters published a report saying that fifty percent of Twitter’s top one hundred advertisers have ceased advertising on the site due to “controversies” and “warnings from media buyers.”
To explain away the fake news as a jab at CNN, Elon Musk appears to have broken Twitter’s rules against posting satire without a disclaimer. On Monday, Elon Musk posted a Photoshopped image of CNN anchor Don Lemon with the headline of a fake news story.
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