Skip to main content

Elon Musk tries to blame ‘activists’ for his Twitter moderation council lie

Elon Musk tries to blame ‘activists’ for his Twitter moderation council lie


Elon Musk justified reinstating Trump on Twitter based on a personal poll — weeks after promising that “no major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen” until a moderation council was formed. Here’s his excuse.

Share this story

Elon Musk gives a thumbs-up while smiley faces melt in the background
Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Getty IMages

Elon Musk is trying to explain why he let Donald Trump and others back onto Twitter, even after he promised that decision would be left up to a content moderation council made up of people with “widely diverse viewpoints.” And wow, his explanation sure is something; in a tweet on Tuesday night, he claimed the council was part of a deal he made with an unnamed “large coalition of political/social activist groups,” implying it was their fault.

Musk claims he made a deal to keep those groups from trying to destroy Twitter’s ad revenue, and that those groups “broke the deal,” and so he no longer has to uphold all that stuff about the council.

Screenshot of Elon Musk’s reply to a tweet calling his content moderation council promise completely fiction. Musk says: “A large coalition of political/social activist groups agreed not to try to kill Twitter by starving us of advertising revenue if I agreed to this condition. They broke the deal.”
This conversation happened after Musk said that there was “not one permanent ban on even the most far left account spouting utter lies,” and cited the Associated Pressincorrect and retracted report that a Russian missile hit Poland.

Earlier this month, Musk un-banned Jordan Peterson, Kathy Griffin, and The Babylon Bee, before running a poll asking his followers if they wanted to see Donald Trump reinstated on the platform, tweeting “Vox Populi, Vox Dei,” which translates to “the voice of the people is the voice of god.” The next day, without any mention of the council, he announced that Trump would be let back on based on the poll’s results (though the former president and current presidential hopeful hasn’t yet made a return to tweeting).

Here’s another poll: are you buying Musk’s explanation?

It’s not the first time Musk has pointed his finger at “activists.” Earlier this month, he tweeted that activist groups were “pressuring advertisers” in an attempt to “destroy free speech in America.” Meanwhile, The Verge has seen documents from one of the three major ad companies that have advised clients to stop running campaigns on the platform. Omnicom Media Group and others didn’t cite pressure from political or social activists; instead, they said that Twitter poses a risk for brands because of concerns around compliance, imitation, a lack of moderation, and how the massive layoffs will affect the company’s ability to operate.