How Elon Musk has repeatedly amplified false claims and boosted disinformation accounts on Twitter

Elon Musk has boosted prominent disinformation accounts including one which has pushed QAnon conspiracy theories
Elon Musk has boosted prominent disinformation accounts including one which has pushed QAnon conspiracy theories Copyright Chris Delmas/AFP
By Sophia Khatsenkova with AFP
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An AFP report found Twitter boss Elon Musk has repeatedly used his own account to amplify false claims from some of the most notorious disinformers.

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When billionaire Elon Musk took over Twitter in October last year, the billionaire promised to make the social media giant the "most accurate source of information about the world. That’s our mission".

But according to an analysis by AFP, the tech entrepreneur has repeatedly amplified false claims from some of the most prominent disinformation accounts on the platform. 

Just last week, Musk brought attention to a tweet that misleadingly suggested doctors are misdiagnosing flu cases as COVID-19 deaths. Musk replied to the tweet by saying "Good question".

This account in question called @KanekoaTheGreat has repeatedly spread disinformation and has promoted QAanon conspiracy theories. 

QAnon followers believe Satan-worshipping politicians and celebrities run the world while engaging in pedophilia and human trafficking. 

On January 6, 2021, fans of former US President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in Washington, DC.

Many of them were followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which saw Trump as a hero who would defeat the Satanic global cabal.

According to AFP, this was one of at least 40 times Elon Musk replied to this profile @KanekoaTheGreat since purchasing Twitter. 

Musk also amplified a post falsely blaming mass shootings in the US on LGBTQ+ individuals.

Half-hearted apologies

He boosted another post that falsely claimed French ex-president Francois Hollande admitted the West overthrew the Ukrainian government during the Maidan Revolution in 2013. 

Euronews had fact-checked these claims previously and we found Hollande never said that during this interview in question nor previously. 

In October 2022, an intruder attacked Paul Pelosi, the husband of the then United States Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, with a hammer during a home invasion burglary. 

Musk shared an article claiming the attack was an altercation resulting from a drunken sexual encounter with a male prostitute.

This turned out to be false and police body cam footage was released. The billionaire later deleted his tweet and half-heartedly apologised

Experts say Musk's activity is concerning. He has more than 135 million followers on Twitter and has forced the platform’s engineers to increase the reach of his posts. 

These past few days, there was a surge in misinformation on Twitter after public figures and government organisations lost their Twitter blue verification, with copycat and scam accounts - including some belonging to dead celebrities - that ended up emerging causing chaos and confusion.

Approached for comment, Twitter responded to AFP's requests with the poo emoji, an automated response instituted during the Musk era.

For more on this story, watch our report from The Cube in the media player above.

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