Elon Musk has claimed that “state actors” have infiltrated X’s community notes system after his own post received multiple notes that provided context to Musk’s allegations. These comments were made after Musk said a Chilean-American citizen was being tortured in a Ukrainian jail. Community notes were quickly added to the post for various reasons.
This weekend, Tucker Carlson took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to discuss Gonzalo Lira, an American citizen living in Ukraine who has been arrested. Carlson posted an interview he conducted with Lira’s father and claims that Lira has been “tortured in a Ukrainian prison since July, for the crime of criticizing Zelensky.”
Less than a day later, Musk also began to talk about Lira and tweeted, “What is the status of this American journalist?” He tagged President Joe Biden in the post.
Musk quickly followed up on the post, writing, “An American citizen is in prison in Ukraine after we sent over a $100 billion? Is there more to this story than simply criticizing Zelensky? If that’s all it is, then we have serious problem here.” He also tagged Zelensky in another tweet, asking him to educate the American public on what was going on.
An American YouTuber has been imprisoned for 5 years in Ukraine, and allegedly tortured, for making videos.
This is not ok. https://t.co/NPbvARtnde
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 10, 2023
All of these posts on X led to various users adding notes to Musk’s tweets to both fact-check him and clarify some of what he was insinuating. According to Julia Davis, The Daily Beast’s Russian media analyst, Lira is a former online dating coach who became a video blogger dedicated to pushing Russian propaganda.
Lira is not a journalist as Musk has claimed. Davis’ report also states that Lira produced various forms of content that celebrated Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He also followed American reporters in Ukraine and publicly revealed where they were staying in hotels, as he said they were “system pig journalists.”
Lira has a long history of being arrested because he’s involved in creating and pushing Russian propaganda. His latest arrest comes as he was trying to travel to Hungary in his quest to receive political asylum.
All of these facts were added to Musk’s posts, as well as the clarification that there has been no reporting to confirm that Lira is in any way being tortured while in Ukrainian custody.
As a result of all of these community notes, Musk wrote, “This note is being gamed by state actors.”
After a user asked Musk if this meant community notes could be easily manipulated, Musk posted in response, “No system is perfect. Perfection would be an absurd and foolish standard. What matters is how often a system is wrong and how quickly it improves. State actors have a lot of resources, so obviously require more effort to resist.”