A day after Elon Musk tweeted and then deleted a link to a false article on Paul Pelosi, Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s husband, Twitter was abuzz with suggestions that the 82-year-old was familiar with his attacker.
Musk had linked an article from the Santa Monica Observer, a website known for spreading fake news. The article suggested that the Paul Pelosi had been drunk at the time of the attack and that the attacker, David DePape was a male prostitute known to the Speaker’s husband.
The tech billionaire had been responding to Musk’s tweet had been in response to 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s tweet that read, “The Republican Party and its mouthpieces now regularly spread hate and deranged conspiracy theories. It is shocking, but not surprising, that violence is the result. As citizens, we must hold them accountable for their words and the actions that follow.”
However, Musk soon deleted the tweet but did not explained why. But the damage seems to have been done.
“The same mainstream media democrat activists that sold conspiracy theories for years about President Trump and Russia are now blaming @elonmusk for “internet misinformation” about Paul Pelosi’s friend attacking him with a hammer.
The media is source of misinformation,” tweeted Republican legislator, representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.
Similarly, Clay Higgins, a representative of Louisiana made a joke about the incident and repeated the conspiracy theory in a now deleted tweet.
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The posts focusing on Paul Pelosi are just a sample of the increase in the number of conspiracy theory-laden and hateful posts since Musk bought Twitter. In fact, within 12 hours of his purchase of the social media platform, references used to specific racist epithet used to demean Black people shot up by 500%, according to an analysis conducted by the National Contagion Research Institute, a Princeton, N.J.-based firm that tracks disinformation.