Elon Musk, the owner of X (formerly Twitter), appears to be undermining X CEO Linda Yaccarino’s attempts to bring advertisers back to the platform again, this time by reinstating two British far-right Islamophobes, Katie Hopkins and Tommy Robinson, to the platform as Yaccarino visits London to woo U.K. advertisers.
Ad revenue on X has continued to plummet since Musk's takeover. The reinstatements of these extremist figures, which come as Yaccarino visits London to attempt to bring British advertisers back to the platform, exemplify what has made X a toxic environment for advertisers, despite promises from Yaccarino that the platform is a safe place to buy ad space.
Robinson, a far-right British activist, is the founder of the anti-Muslim group English Defense League and previously worked for Rebel Media, a far-right Canadian outlet that has been described as “an online platform that allows white nationalists to promote division.” According to the Guardian, he was banned from Facebook and Instagram in 2019 for breaking rules “that ban public calls for violence against people based on protected characteristics.”
Hopkins has connections to Holocaust deniers and white nationalists and has openly advocated for a "final solution" to Islamic terrorism, employing a term infamously associated with the Nazis during the Holocaust.
Here is a breakdown of other bigotry and anti-Muslim extremism from Hopkins:
- Hopkins called for Muslim internment camps while appearing on Fox News in 2017.
- Hopkins wrote, “Islam disgusts me,” following a terrorist attack in France.
- She advocated for “gunships” to stop migrants on boats and compared migrants to “feral humans” and “cockroaches.”
- In a Daily Mail article, Hopkins falsely accused a Muslim family of being linked to Al-Qaeda.
- Hopkins has baselessly linked the Islamic holiday of Ramadan to violence.
- In a racist post on X, Hopkins wrote, “Dear black people. If your lives matter why do you stab and shoot each other so much.”
On the morning of November 5, Musk was alerted by an X user that the two figures were banned on the platform.
By the afternoon, both Hopkins’ and Robinson’s accounts were reinstated on the platform. The pair wrote posts thanking Musk for bringing them back online.
Following the reinstatements, Musk commented on a post celebrating Hopkins’ return and alleging that the anti-hate speech group Center for Countering Digital Hate had a hand in banning Hopkins. Musk wrote, “CCDH is an evil propaganda machine.”
This is not the first time that Musk has undermined Yaccarino’s attempts to bring back advertisers. Musk has unilaterally reinstated multiple previously banned X users, including accounts owned by white nationalists, conspiracy theorists, and notorious bigots. Similarly, Musk undermined Yaccarino’s promise of a safe platform by reinstating an account that had previously shared child sexual abuse imagery and repeatedly boosting anti-ADL posts after Yaccarino spoke with the Anti-Defamation League about hate speech on the platform.