LeBron James and Elon Musk in a composite image.
LeBron James and Elon Musk in a composite image.Getty Images
  • Use of the N-word on Twitter surged nearly 500% after Musk's acquisition, per The Washington Post.
  • Responding to an Insider article, LeBron James said Musk needs to "take this very seriously."
  • In a tweet, James referred to the surge of N-word usage as "scary AF."

The NBA star LeBron James on Saturday urged new Twitter owner Elon Musk to address the "scary AF" surge in the use of the N-word on the social-media platform.

Tweeting in response to an Insider article, which cited The Washington Post's reporting on the increased use of the racist slur immediately after Musk's $44 billion acquisition, James urged Musk to "take this very seriously."

James wrote: "I dont know Elon Musk and, tbh, I could care less who owns twitter. But I will say that if this is true, I hope he and his people take this very seriously because this is scary AF. 

"So many damn unfit people saying hate speech is free speech."


Insider's report referred to findings by the Network Contagion Research Institute, a research group that analyzes social-media content to predict emerging threats, which said that the use of the N-word on Twitter increased by nearly 500% in the 12 hours immediately after Twitter finalized Musk's deal.

A follow-up Bloomberg report found a 1,300% increase in the slur being used on the social-media platform after the news broke that Musk had closed the deal on Twitter. Bloomberg reported that, at its peak, the N-word appeared on Twitter 170 times every five minutes.

The Washington Post's report said that anonymous accounts appeared to be trying to assess the limit of Twitter's moderation policies after the self-proclaimed "free-speech absolutist" Musk bought it. The newspaper noted that several online-trolling accounts called on others to use racist language in the aftermath of the deal.

"Elon now controls twitter. Unleash the racial slurs. K—S AND N—–S," said one anonymous account, using slurs for Jewish and Black people, per the outlet. 

Twitter was also flooded with misogynistic and anti-LGBTQ messages, per the media outlet, with online trolls seemingly running "tests" on Twitter's moderation policies under the new owner.

Musk tweeted on Friday that Twitter will form a "content-moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints." The billionaire added that major decisions on moderation wouldn't be made until the council meets.

Musk said in a later tweet that "we have not yet made any changes to Twitter's content-moderation policies."

Read the original article on Business Insider