Elon Musk, Twitter's new owner, tweets conspiracy theory about attack on Paul Pelosi

ByOliver Darcy and Donie O'Sullivan, CNN, CNNWire
Sunday, October 30, 2022
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David DePape is accused in a hammer assault on Nancy Pelosi's husband, Paul, at their San Francisco home. He posted conspiracy theories online.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Elon Musk on Sunday gave credence to a fringe conspiracy theory about the violent attack on Paul Pelosi, CNN reported.

The new Twitter owner tweeted a link to an article full of baseless claims about Pelosi. The article was posted on a website that purports to be a news outlet.

Musk, who has 112 million followers on the platform he now owns, posted the baseless story about Pelosi in response to a tweet from Hilary Clinton at 8:15 am ET. He later deleted the tweet around 2 pm, but not before racking up more than 28,000 retweets and 100,000 likes.

SEE ALSO | Speaker Pelosi says husband Paul 'continues to improve' after violent attack at California home

Linking to a Los Angeles Times story about Pelosi's alleged attacker, Clinton wrote, "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."

In response, Musk linked to the baseless story, and wrote, "There is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye."

In 2016 the same website falsely claimed that Clinton had died and that the person on the presidential campaign trail was not Clinton but her body double.

RELATED | 'Out of touch with reality': Alleged Paul Pelosi attacker posted Jan. 6 conspiracy theories

Musk's post comes amid concerns about how the billionaire will run Twitter and if misinformation and hate will be given a bigger platform on the site.

A Twitter spokesperson did not immediately return a CNN request for comment.

Musk's takeover - which was finalized Thursday night, a source familiar with the matter told CNN - not only has the potential to create upheaval for Twitter employees but also for the hundreds of millions of people around the world who use the platform daily. It could also impact the upcoming US midterm elections, if Musk makes good on his promise to restore the accounts of users who were previously banned from the platform, most notably former US President Donald Trump, and limit the company's content restrictions.

In the first weeks after agreeing to buy the company in April, and before his initial move to bail on the deal, Musk repeatedly stressed that his goal was to bolster "free speech" on the platform and work to "unlock" Twitter's "extraordinary potential." The Tesla CEO suggested he would rethink Twitter's approach to content moderation and permanent bans, with potential impacts on civil discourse and the political landscape. He also talked about his desire to rid the platform of bots, even as he later made the number of bots central to his argument to abandon the deal.

CNN's Clare Duffy contributed to this report

The video in the player above is from a previous report.

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