FACT CHECK: Did CNN Air A Chyron Stating Elon Musk Could ‘Threaten Free Speech On Twitter’?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows a CNN chyron that reads, “Elon Musk could threaten free speech on Twitter by allowing people to speak freely.”

Verdict: False

The image originated from a satirical website. A CNN spokesperson confirmed that the image was not aired on the network.

Fact Check:

Musk recently purchased a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter, becoming its largest individual shareholder, according to The New York Times. The Tesla CEO decided not to join the company’s board of directors April 9, CNBC reported, contrary to earlier reports suggesting he would.

An image shared on Facebook suggests CNN recently reported on these developments. It shows what appears to be a screen grab from a CNN news segment that features anchor Don Lemon, an image of Musk and a chyron that reads, “Elon Musk could threaten free speech on Twitter by allowing people to speak freely.”

The image and chyron are digitally fabricated. There are no articles on CNN’s website that feature the wording as shown in the chyron, nor has there been any discussion of Musk’s stake in Twitter in recent episodes of Lemon’s show “Don Lemon Tonight,” according to transcripts.

“It’s a doctored framegrab – even the font used in the chyron is the wrong style,” said Bridget Leininger, a CNN spokesperson, in an email to Check Your Fact. (RELATED: Did CNN Air This Chyron About ‘Two Deadly Viruses’ Killing Nigerians?)

A reverse image search revealed the image originated with an April 5 article published on the satirical website Genesius Times, which identifies itself as “The most reliable source of fake news on the planet.” While the Genesius Times discloses the satirical nature of its content, many social media posts shared the fabricated image without noting its satirical origins.

This is not the first time Musk’s stake in the company has been the subject of misinformation. Check Your Fact recently debunked a claim that suggested a Twitter employee had submitted his resignation over his refusal to work with the billionaire.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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