Twitter Falsely Tells Users That Article Criticizing Elon Musk Might Be ‘Violent’ and ‘Unsafe’

UPDATE, Saturday Nov. 12: Overnight, Twitter removed the warning without any comment or acknowledgement.

Original article, Friday Nov. 11:

Elon Musk claims to be a champion of what he says is “free speech.” But since taking over Twitter, the world’s richest man has proven himself to be extremely thin-skinned when said speech pertains to him.

On Friday, that was taken to hilarious new heights when Twitter responded to a satirical article on the website Mediaite that criticized Musk, by falsely labeling it as potentially fraudulent, malicious, spam or otherwise unsafe. No, really.

The article by Mediaite writer Michael Luciano, which you can read here, is simple.

The headline: “What Elon Musk Is Doing Right at Twitter.” And the article itself contains just one word: “Nothing.”

Immediately below that, it contains a disclaimer: “This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.” And that’s it.

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Short, sweet, pretty hilarious in our opinion, and instantly memorable. And of course, Mediaite is a well-known politics and media outlet whose Twitter account, in case you’re wondering, is verified. And to be clear, we mean, actually verified because it’s considered “notable in government, news, entertainment, or another designated category,” not Twitter Blue.

Despite this, as of this writing, if you click on the Mediaite link from any place on Twitter, instead of being taken to the article you’re instead redirected to a page containing the following dire warning:

Warning: this link may be unsafe
The link you are trying to access has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially spammy or unsafe, in accordance with Twitter’s URL Policy. This link could fall into any of the below categories:
malicious links that could steal personal information or harm electronic devices
spammy links that mislead people or disrupt their experience
violent or misleading content that could lead to real-world harm certain
categories of content that, if posted directly on Twitter, are a violation of Twitter Rules

You can generate this message by clicking the link from literally anyone who tweets it — see for yourself here. But below we’ve included a screenshot:

It’s unclear if this was the result of direct intervention by Musk — as when he personally intervened to stop people from making fun of him with parody accounts — or Twitter employees seeking to please him. But it’s only the latest example of how Musk’s words do not match his actions when it comes to “free speech.”

For instance, Musk forbids Tesla employees from criticizing the company and it locks them all down with arbitration clauses. Musk has also tried to require Tesla customers to sign contracts agreeing not to criticize the company’s products, and the company has literally sued people in other countries who complained about safety features. And of course, he recently blocked a critic whose advise he had actually sought regarding the exodus of advertisers since he bought Twitter.

Meanwhile, on Friday the biggest news regarding Twitter was the fact that the botched launch of “Twitter Blue,” where users can buy a blue check without being validated for $8, appears to have cost at least one major corporation billions of dollars thanks to the proliferation of fake accounts the service enabled.