Elon Musk calls X ‘number one source of news in the world’—and also a ‘hardcore, player versus player platform’


And it revealed, beyond touching on the X owner’s use of drugs such as ketamine, the billionaire’s contradictory, confusing definitions of “news,” and even a comparison of the platform’s users to the video games he’s so famously fond of.

Musk started the interview by calling the platform “the number one source of news in the world … there’s nothing even close for real-time news,” before seeming to correct himself and saying that X dominates as a platform for “information.”

Roughly 30 minutes later, Musk was singing a different tune. “I think the media is not truthful,” he told Lemon, adding that he does not believe most readers should listen to what the media says.  (The media prides itself on citing primary sources and using experts, reporters and editors to contextualize what is and is not known.) Even later, he offered a different definition of the type of content on X, likening the user interactions on the platform to the “hardcore, player versus player” style of video games.

Lemon repeatedly grilled Musk on his stance as a self-proclaimed free speech absolutist–on the other hand, he’s been censoring accounts of journalists who’ve reported on him for years, drew an ambiguous line in the sand between free speech and hate speech, and has allowed misinformation to gain traction on the platform—something Musk and Lemon also clashed on in the interview. 

Musk on censorship, content moderation and only taking down illegal content

When confronted by Lemon on his record on content moderation, Musk responded that “moderation is a propaganda word for censorship.” 

During the interview, he discussed his belief that people should be allowed to say anything that the law allows them to say on his platform. Lemon pointed out that hate speech, which is generally protected by the law, goes against X’s community guidelines

“If something is illegal, obviously we will remove it,” Musk said, before sidestepping the issue again: “Laws are put in place by the people, and we adhere to those laws. If you go beyond the law, you’re actually going beyond the will of the people.” 

Debating what constitutes censorship

Musk confronted Lemon at times, too, accusing him of being pro-censorship in the context of removing hate speech that may not be technically illegal. Yet Musk has a long record of censoring the accounts of journalists, which the European Commission has deemed to be a violation of the EU’s Digital Services Act. The law just went into effect in February, providing guidelines for content moderation and carrying a fine for companies up to 6% of global revenue. In a tweet, the commission’s president stated that in censoring the journalists, Musk had crossed “red lines” and warned of sanctions soon.

Her warning came a day after X suspended over two dozen accounts, including one that belongs to Jack Sweeney, the college student behind @elonjet, an account that tracks Musk’s private jet. The journalists who were barred, including CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan; The New York Times’ Ryan Mac; and The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell, had all reported on Musk’s decision to suspend Sweeney. 

In response, Musk claimed that accounts involved with tracking his private jets amounted to “doxxing,” or sharing personal information to embolden harassers

In January, Musk had suspended a wave of high-profile journalists including the Texas Observer’s Steven Monacelli and The Intercept’s Ken Klippenstein.

Monacelli had recently wrote several critical reports on Musk and X; and Klippenstein had reported on Musk’s AI discussions with the Israeli military on its campaign in Gaza. The journalists received no explanation for their removal, and many of the accounts were reinstated that afternoon. 

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