Elon Musk: COVID Booster Almost Sent Me to Hospital

Billionaire Elon Musk on Tuesday claimed that his Covid vaccine shot almost sent him to the hospital. Taking to X (formerly Twitter), Mr Musk reposted a video from another user claiming that COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness was declining worldwide and some countries had halted the use of the shot. He went on to say that he opposed the “outrageous demand” that people get vaccinated and would instead go to prison than comply with a policy forcing private companies to enforce vaccine policies on their employees.

The tweets, which were later deleted, came days after a lawsuit that accused Mr Musk of securities fraud erupted in New York, with the Tesla and SpaceX founder due to testify Friday before a nine-person jury. The court has also ordered him to retake the stand for a half hour on Monday to answer questions about his 2018 tweet that he had lined up the financing to take Tesla private in a deal that never came close to happening.

Since taking over Twitter in October 2022, the billionaire has relentlessly spruced up the platform to suit his vision of it as a one-stop digital shop for finance that encompasses everything from banking to investments. He has fired over three-quarters of the company’s staff, auctioned off furniture and decor, and upended hate speech and misinformation policies.

In November, he rolled back Twitter’s policies on policing Covid-19 and vaccine misinformation. As a result, the spread of the anti-vaxxer meme became rife on the site, with every high-profile death or illness prompting Twitter users to post claims that their vaccines had caused them.

A series of files released by a journalist on Thursday have shed light on Twitter’s practice of secretly blacklisting certain accounts and tweets. The investigation by investigative journalist Bari Weiss reveals that teams of Twitter employees build blocklists, prevent disfavored tweets from trending, and actively limit the visibility of entire accounts or even whole hashtags without informing users.

A week ago, a digitally edited video of CNN’s Jake Tapper interviewing Mr Musk — in which the billionaire was asked whether he had taken his Covid-19 vaccines — began spreading online. It featured a clip cut to include audio of the interviewers making unscripted comments that insulted Mr Musk and his family. Despite a denial by the broadcaster, the video sparked outrage from some of Mr Musk’s millions of followers on Twitter, who accused the network of manipulating its interviews and destroying the integrity of journalism. The network said it had contacted the video’s creator to get to the bottom of what was happening. It is unclear what, if anything, it can do to repair the damage. However, a CNN investigation has found that the broadcaster or its staff did not make the edits and that the video was distributed on its social media platforms and YouTube channel without any manipulation by the network.

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