Elon Musk appears to entertain conspiracy theory that Texas shooting was a ‘psyop’

Elon Musk Labor Trouble (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Elon Musk Labor Trouble (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Elon Musk appears to be entertaining the idea that the mass shooting by a far-right extremist at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, on Saturday was a “psyop” or psychological operation.

Mr Musk, the owner and CEO of Twitter, reacted to a series of tweets on Monday suggesting that initial reporting on the suspect’s apparent right wing motives was “suspect” and that the shooting was “a psyop.”

“This gets weirder by the moment,” he wrote in response.

Eight people were killed in the rampage — including three children — which the shooter carried out using an AR-15-style rifle. Authorities are currently investigating whether the suspected gunman had links to the far right after the 33-year-old’s social media profiles were found online.

One profile reportedly belonging to the gunman, who police named as Mauricio Garcia, shared extremist views about mass shootings and white supremacy. The same profile also praised Libs of TikTok, a Twitter account run by right wing activist Chaya Raichik, which targets the LGBT+ community. Mr Musk frequently interacts with the Libs of TikTok Twitter account.

It is not the first time Mr Musk has been quick to entertain conspiracy theories about violence inspired by right wing actors.

In the aftermath of an attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of former Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mr Musk shared a bogus news report from a website known for fake news suggesting that the perpetrator may have been a gay lover of Mr Pelosi’s.

That time, Mr Musk was responding to a link to a Los Angeles Times shared by Hillary Clinton that detailed David DePape’s digital trail of far-right conspiracy theories before he attacked the-then speaker’s husband.

“The Republican Party and its mouthpieces now regularly spread hate and deranged conspiracy theories,” she wrote in a Twitter post.

The following day, Mr Musk replied, claiming that “there is a tiny possibility there might be more to this story than meets the eye.” He attached a screenshot of a bogus report accusing Mr Pelosi of getting into a drunken fight with a male prostitute.

He quietly deleted the tweet, but thousands of people had already shared it, along with the original article, which has fuelled thousands of similar posts.

He also did not acknowledge the post or apologise for sharing information that was never credible and later debunked by Mr DePape’s own apparent statements to police. Instead, Musk sarcastically attacked The New York Times for reporting, correctly, that he shared a story from a website “known to publish false news.”

“This is fake,” he joked. “I did *not* tweet out a link to The New York Times!”