Linda Yaccarino (pictured), CEO of X (formerly Twitter) proudly told users that the site added 10 million users during the first week of December — impressive growth for the troubled platform.
However, one of those 10 million users (and it was unclear how many were bots) was one Alex Jones — host of the conspiracy theory digital show Info Wars.
Yaccarino tweeted the news of its user growth on 8 December but did not offer any further explanation for the user growth or, indeed, any further proof.
More than 10 million people have signed up for X so far this December! pic.twitter.com/sW8cN2xM0Y
— Linda Yaccarino (@lindayaX) December 8, 2023
Two days later, Musk asked users on the platform whether Jones should be reinstated — 70 per cent voted that he should.
Jones, if you’re unfamiliar, has used his platform to allege that the US government concealed information about or entirely fabricated the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the September 11 attacks and the 1969 Moon landing.
In 2022, the families of the Sandy Hook victims and a first responder were awarded $US1.487 billion ($AU2.27 billion) in damages from Jones by juries in Connecticut and Texas. The plaintiffs alleged that Jones’s lies led to them being threatened and harassed for years.
In the hours after being reinstated, Jones sat down for a three-hour-long Twitter space with Musk, Andrew Tate, Matt Gaetz and more noted right-wingers. Jones railed against the mainstream media and said that the public needed to be ready for his reinstatement on Twitter.
He also said it was a “Bold step” for Musk.
None of this will go any way to assuage advertiser fears about X and its dangerous flirtations with conspiracy theorists jeopardising their brand safety.
Last month, the platform was kicked out of Australia’s social media disinformation self-regulatory code after its inaction on disinformation surrounding the Voice to Parliament referendum. Just last week, Musk told advertisers — who made up 90 per cent of X’s revenue when he took over — to “Go Fuck Yourselves” after many of them left the platform following Musk’s endorsement of an anti-semitic conspiracy theory.
It has since been revealed that X is planning to shift away from its focus on large enterprise advertisers and focus more on small and medium-sized businesses.
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