Following the X owner’s alleged approval of an antisemitic post on the platform, the White House accused Elon Musk of perpetuating a “hideous lie” about Jews.
In response to a post that shared an antisemitic conspiracy theory on Wednesday, Mr. Musk stated that the theory was “actual truth”.
That the post was antisemitic has been refuted by Mr. Musk.
A White House spokesperson, however, called his support of the post “unacceptable” after it sparked outrage online.
“We condemn this abhorrent promotion of antisemitic and racist hate in the strongest terms,” said White House spokesperson Andrew Bates.
He mentioned that the post to which Mr. Musk was replying discussed a conspiracy theory that served as the driving force behind the murder of eleven people at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018.
“It is unacceptable to repeat the hideous lie behind the most fatal act of antisemitism in American history at any time, let alone one month after the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust,” Mr Bates said, referring to the 7 October Hamas assault against Israel.
X Chief Executive Linda Yaccarino wrote in an earlier tweet that the company has been “extremely clear about our efforts to combat antisemitism and discrimination. There’s no place for it anywhere in the world – it’s ugly and wrong”.
Mr. Musk reacted to a post that contained anti-immigrant sentiments and accused Jewish communities of inciting “hatred against Whites” with his “truth” comment.
It seemed to be an endorsement of the racist and antisemitic “white genocide” conspiracy theory, which holds that Jews deliberately plan to promote the immigration of “non-white” individuals to Western nations with the goal of “eliminating” the white race.
According to Zahed Amanullah, a senior fellow at the London-based Institute of Strategic Dialogue, the original post to which Mr. Musk responded “is using specific language that has been used in the past to justify violent attacks on synagogues,” the BBC reported.
The mass killer who entered Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue in 2018 and shot eleven worshippers to death was inspired by a conspiracy theory.
Mr. Musk refutes accusations that he is antisemitic and subsequently clarifies that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and other unidentified “Jewish communities” were the target of his remarks rather than all Jews.
ADL Chief Executive Jonathan Greenblatt posted: “At a time when antisemitism is exploding in America and surging around the world, it is indisputably dangerous to use one’s influence to validate and promote antisemitic theories.”
The antisemitism controversy arises as a result of certain organizations ceasing to purchase advertisements on X, the former name of Twitter, due to radical content on the platform.
Following a report from a left-wing media watchdog claiming that its content was displayed next to posts endorsing Adolf Hitler and Nazism, IBM halted its advertising spending. Later on, according to Axios, Apple announced that it would also stop purchasing ads on the platform.
X said to the BBC on Thursday that advertisements are not purposefully positioned next to extremist content, that accounts that promote Nazis will not receive revenue from advertising, and that certain posts will be classified as “sensitive media”.
In a related development, Politico reports that the European Commission has instructed its departments to cease purchasing advertisements on X due to concerns about false information regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict.
On Friday, Mr. Musk supported other posts that were critical of IBM and the “media” while simultaneously criticizing Media Matters on the platform. He did not directly address his own statements.
Musk has frequently reiterated conspiracy theories and criticized social media watchdogs, such as the ADL and other organizations, for their criticism of his changes to X’s content moderation.