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Musk: More countries should tweet like Israel

Twitter boss responds to official Israel account after it uses Taylor Swift meme to joke about not being dragged into discourse surrounding Kanye West’s antisemitism

In this file photo taken on March 14, 2019, Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during the unveiling of the new Tesla Model Y in Hawthorne, California. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP)
In this file photo taken on March 14, 2019, Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during the unveiling of the new Tesla Model Y in Hawthorne, California. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP)

Elon Musk on Monday praised the Foreign Ministry’s Twitter account, saying that more countries should also use the platform in a fun way.

The Israel account had posted a screenshot of Kanye West’s tweet of “Shalom” and a smile emoji upon his return to the platform following a ban for making antisemitic statements.

“We would very much like to be excluded from this narrative,” the Israel account tweeted, a riff on a famous comment-turned-meme from pop singer Taylor Swift about her own yearslong feud with West. The account even tagged Swift in its tweet.

Musk responded to the joke: “Your tweets are good! More countries should tweet like this. No fun being all stuffy.”

The original Israeli tweet received tens of thousands of likes, no doubt boosted by Musk’s army of online fans.

While some praised the tweet, others said it was making a joke of a serious situation amid rising antisemitism and a spike in hatred on the platform.

Musk has himself in recent days frequently changed the rules regarding humor and parody on the site, particularly when he is the focus of mockery.

The platform also saw a wave of spoofs and falsification after Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, including an account with the handle AIPAC, the acronym for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, tweeting, “We love apartheid.”

In addition to West, Musk’s Twitter has reinstated a number of controversial tweeters in recent days, including former US president Donald Trump, after an unscientific poll.

Trump had been banned from the platform since January 6, 2021, after his incendiary tweets helped spur the deadly riots seeking to keep US Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election as president.

Trump has said he won’t return to Twitter and as of Tuesday had not tweeted since the reinstatement, although he also hasn’t deleted his account.

On Monday, the personal account of far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was reinstated after a ban earlier this year for violating the platform’s COVID misinformation policies.

Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia speaks as then US President Donald Trump listens at a campaign rally in support of Republican Senate candidates in Dalton, Georgia, January 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Musk had previously said he would not make major decisions about content or restoring banned accounts before setting up a “ content moderation council ” with diverse viewpoints.

Neither Twitter nor Musk have announced the existence of such a council.

Musk has frequently expressed his belief that Twitter had become too restrictive. Before the US midterm elections this month, he urged his “independent-minded” Twitter followers to vote Republican.

As Musk instituted changes on the site since his purchase, firing or encouraging hundreds of staffers to quit, including the executives responsible for ensuring that the platform is free of hate, hateful language and harassment spiked on the site.

Online networks have seized on Musk’s ownership as an opportunity to launch a full-court press of hateful content on the site.

This caused concern among rights groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, which called for an advertising boycott and for Musk to tweet that ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt was “defaming” him.

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