NewsElon Musk's post on bases around Iran garnered claims of misinformation

Elon Musk's post on bases around Iran garnered claims of misinformation

X corrects Elon Musk. The platform decided that his post is "misleading".
X corrects Elon Musk. The platform decided that his post is "misleading".
Images source: © Getty Images | Nathan Howard
ed. KRO

3:02 PM EDT, October 29, 2023

On social media platform X, Elon Musk, posted a graphic suggesting that the US has numerous military bases around Iran. Fact-checkers on the same platform marked his post as "misleading." According to their assessment, the US does not have bases in the countries identified by the billionaire in his post.

The world's attention is currently on the Middle East, amidst fears of escalating war between Israel and Hamas. Amid this tense atmosphere, Elon Musk posted a meme on his social media platform X (formerly named Twitter). The image he posted—widely circulated among communities skeptical about United States' actions—suggested that Iran's neighboring countries are scattered with US military bases.

Misleading nature of Musk's post

The graphic was attached with a caption that read "Iran wants war. Look how close they put their country to our military bases."

Many users swiftly reacted to this post, accusing Elon Musk of endorsing narratives propagated by authoritarian regimes. The fact-checkers of platform X, which is owned by Musk, also reacted to this post, indicating that the content was potentially misleading.

Contrary to the suggestion of the post, there are no US military bases in Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Furthermore, the actual number of military bases that exist in the Middle East is not as depicted in the post. The highlighted flag numbers, suggesting bases' locations, are overrepresented and hence render the post misleading.

Musk insists it's "a joke meme"

Responding to the criticism, Musk stated that the graphic was "obviously a joke meme." However, he also mentioned that "there's more than a grain of truth to it". He emphasized the importance of viewing different issues from others' perspectives.

Stressing that he "loves to be corrected", Musk noted that this incident proves no one on platform X is beyond correction. However, there was also an observed incident where the post correcting Musk was removed from the platform after a few hours.

Musk's comments attracted significant criticism. For example, Ukrainian diplomat Oleksandr Shcherba, a former ambassador to Austria, offered stern words: "Seriously, Elon, you're now speaking out in defense of Iran? IRAN?" he wrote.

On a different note, former Russian president and prime minister Dmitry Medvedev offered support. He penned this: "Exactly! But don't forget about Russia, which poses a threat to the whole world!"

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