Twitter community notes backfire on Elon Musk after troll post goes viral

Calum Patterson
elon musk looking left during ted talk

The equally loved and hated community notes feature on Twitter has had probably its most high-profile case of tomfoolery ever, after a troll tweet suggested the X/Twitter owner Elon Musk was “considering killing himself” – which is not true, but the community notes had other ideas.

Community Notes were introduced to X/Twitter to curb the spread of malicious or careless misinformation on the platform.

Any tweet can now be ‘fact-checked’ by users of the site, as those approved to pen notes can add context, correct false information, or debunk myths, along with adding a source.

These notes are intended to be neutral, factual, unbiased and clear for anyone to read, and preferably include reliable sources. However, as the feature has become more prominent, it has also become more prone to misuse. And now one example involves the site’s owner, Elon Musk himself.

Community Notes troll Elon Musk

On September 19, a user with only 1,500 followers, @rotten_tomato3s, said, “Elon Musk is reportedly considering the idea of killing himself,” and claimed the source to be Dexerto. Dexerto can confirm, of course, that no such report was ever made.

The post was clearly a joke, and never intended to be taken seriously, but this didn’t stop community notes contributors piling in once the post picked up some steam.

One note in particular simply stated, “This is true.” Despite the claim, very obviously, not being true, other notes contributors clearly thought it would be good fun to rate the note as “helpful” – eventually causing it to be added to the post for everyone to see.

The creators of notes are typically anonymous, but thanks to their successful tomfoolery, user ‘O0psieDaisy_’ confirmed they were behind it, by sharing a notification that it had now been seen over a million times on the platform.

It didn’t take long, however, before the note was given enough negative ratings to be removed again.

Now, the notes section of the infamous post is a warzone of conflicting opinions. “yea its true, elon told me,” one reads. Another states, “looking into this” – coining Elon’s favorite phrase.

Some of the more sensible notes correctly point out that the post is obviously not accurate, but these have failed to be rated high enough to appear for all users, at the time of writing. There is no fun in that, after all.

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