Elon Musk calls for prosecution of Fauci in a viral tweet
Elon Musk once again dominated his platform over the weekend with a viral tweet targeting Dr. Anthony Fauci. Surprisingly, it has over 1 million likes. While the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases plans to step down by the end of this year, he is also now facing backlash from online critics.
In early 2020, Dr.Fauci was one of the leading health experts in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Although some criticized him for his suggestions of using face masks, social distancing, and vaccinations, some also applaud him as a hero.
Fauci also clashed with former President Donald Trump during the pandemic era. The leading immunologist spoke against rising disinformation and misinformation about the COVID-19 virus and the alleviation policies. During Trump’s false proclamations about the virus while still in office, Fauci strongly disagreed in a CNN interview, citing that he felt he “had to” oppose the former president’s statements.
My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 11, 2022
On Sunday, the tech billionaire Elon Musk told his 120 million Twitter followers about Fauci’s prosecution. He tweeted, “My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci.” Most of the users, particularly his supporters, shared the tweet making it viral over the weekend. But his tweet also gained backlash from other concerned parties.
Moreover, right-wing conservatives expressed their support for Musk’s tweet. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene didn’t condemn the new Twitter owner’s post about Fauci. Greene’s account was one of those that earned restrictions before the new owner stepped in. Musk reinstated her account following his decision to end COVID misinformation. Twitter banned her account for mockery of using gender pronouns on social media.
With the information released from the Twitter Files, the DOJ should already be preparing to prosecute people who formerly worked at Twitter for election interference, 1st amendment violations of speech & press, and child pornography, but the DOJ is nothing but a..
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) December 12, 2022
Elon Musk Twitter Responses
While the tech billionaire’s tweet garnered half a million likes online in its first few hours, some health experts defended Fauci. A health professor and vaccine scientist, Peter Hotez, leaned towards Fauci’s works during the pandemic and advised Musk to take down the post.
For the record: Dr. Fauci has done nothing wrong, except serve our nation. In the meantime, Mr. Musk should know that 200,000 Americans needlessly lost their lives from Covid due to this kind of antiscience rhetoric and disinformation. Elon, I’m asking you to take down this Tweet https://t.co/t3ffWQsXnb
— Prof Peter Hotez MD PhD (@PeterHotez) December 11, 2022
Hotez tweeted, “For the record: Dr. Fauci has done nothing wrong except serve our nation. In the meantime, Mr. Musk should know that 200,000 Americans needlessly lost their lives from Covid due to this antiscience rhetoric and disinformation. Elon, I’m asking you to take down this Tweet.” But Elon Musk didn’t comment on his post.
A Democrat from Minnesota, Rep. Dean Philips, also slammed Musk for targeting Fauci. The congressman tweeted, “It’s America. You can select any pronouns you damn well, please. But Anthony Fauci has likely saved more human lives than any living person in the world. Shame on you.”
Michelle Miller also shared with CBS News last month that Fauci never expected Science to become political. Fauci said it made him “the boogeyman of the far right.” Fauci also shared receiving death threats due to his work. He said, “We are living now in an era, I believe, where there is so much distortion of reality, conspiracy theory, and untruths.”
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 11, 2022
Musk didn’t explain his tweet further, but he had a tweet before the one targeting Fauci. He shared a meme that said, “Just one more lockdown.” It could be an interpretation of the indirect reference to Fauci and other public health experts who agreed that lockdowns are the answer to slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Twitter’s Recent Bouts
Elon Musk’s actions on Twitter have been heavily questioned over the past few months. In particular, his decision to grant “amnesty” to formerly banned accounts and remove restrictions prohibiting the spread of COVID-19 misinformation.
Most notably, his decision allowed former President Donald Trump – who was banned from the platform in response to his incitement of violence during the attack on the U.S. Capitol – back onto Twitter. As a result, it seems like Musk is aligning himself with right-wing commentators such as those advocating against Fauci.
I strongly disagree. Forcing your pronouns upon others when they didn’t ask, and implicitly ostracizing those who don’t, is neither good nor kind to anyone.
As for Fauci, he lied to Congress and funded gain-of-function research that killed millions of people. Not awesome imo.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 12, 2022
The tech mogul’s recent attack on Dr. Anthony Fauci has added to the rampant criticism of Twitter’s changes since his takeover. Studies have found a decline in ad revenue, an increase in the usage of fake “verified” accounts, and an uptick in racial slurs.
It is pointing toward an overall decline in content moderation by the platform. Massive employee exodus also compounded these issues. Which has left some questioning whether Twitter will be able to recover from the instability it has gone through since Musk took over.
Moreover, Musk’s takeover of Twitter has had far-reaching effects already. On the one hand, the move has caused some celebrities and large accounts to leave the platform. This is in protest of Musk’s alleged empowerment of far-right actors. On the other hand, research points to a discernible increase in hate speech on Twitter, particularly among marginalized groups.