Disinfo expert appears to choke back tears after Elon Musk bought Twitter

Disinfo expert appears to choke back tears after Elon Musk bought Twitter
Misinformation expert criticises Elon Musk's response to attack on Paul Pelosi

NBC senior reporter and disinformation expert Ben Collins appeared to hold back tears following Elon Musk pushed a fringe conspiracy theory against the violent attack on Paul Pelosi.

On Monday (31 October), Collins spoke with the hosts of MSNBC's Morning Joe about the matter and how democracy could be lost in the internet age.

"Lies on the internet move faster than the truth," he said.

"And that's, in part, why there [are] all these safeguards Elon Musk is trying to take down on Twitter right now."

Collins then explained that the falsehoods that were pushed were from "bad pieces of information" they put together about the Pelosis.

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"There was this world-building on the pro-Trump internet. What could be the opposite of reality here?

"And the opposite reality they came up with that these two people were having a lover's quarrel at a house, and the police sort of intruded on us," Collins said before adding that it's "fundamentally incorrect" and pushed by the "richest man in the world."

He continued: "If we don't cut this out right now, not just the normalisation of violence, but the idea that reality can't even exist anymore because it cannot catch up to the lies on the internet."

The attack on Pelosi occurred early on Friday (28 October), just two weeks before the US Midterm Elections.

The intruder – who police later identified as DePape – broke into the couple's San Francisco home, grabbed a hammer and left a trail of broken glass before confronting the 82-year-old.

Witnesses claim he shouted: "Where is Nancy?" before launching into his assault.

In a since-deleted- tweet on Sunday (30 October), Musk took to Twitter to share a link to an article that had baseless claims about the incident.

The article was shared on a website that claims to be a news outlet.

The Tesla and Space X CEO, now Twitter owner, shared the story about Pelosi, responding to a tweet from Hilary Clinton.

The tweet was deleted in the afternoon, but it still garnered thousands of retweets and likes.

Sharing a Los Angeles Times story about the alleged perpetrator, Clinton wrote, in part: "The Republican Party and its mouthpieces now regularly spread hate and deranged conspiracy theories... As citizens, we must hold them accountable for their words and the actions that follow."

And in response to that, the tech billionaire linked to the baseless story.

"There is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye," he wrote.

This post came about following concerns about how Musk will run Twitter and if hate and other forms of misinformation will be given a bigger platform.

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