X took 2 days to remove the account of the man suspected of California Pride-flag killing of Laura Carleton

X took two days to remove the account owned by Laura Ann Carleton’s suspected killer.

Yerchak Yauhen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

X apparently took two days to delete the account of the man suspected of killing Laura Ann Carleton. 
The killing happened because Carleton had a Pride flag outside her California clothing store, officials have said.
More hate speech has been on X, possibly due to mass layoffs and Musk’s “free speech absolutism.”

The man suspected of killing California business owner Laura Ann “Lauri” Carleton over the Pride flag outside her store apparently used X to share his homophobic views. The platform took two days to remove his account, according to CNN. 

He used his account to share anti-gay and antisemitic posts, CNN reported. The account had a pinned tweet of an image of a rainbow Pride flag on fire. 

In a since-deleted post, Alejandra Caraballo, a clinical instructor at Harvard Law School Cyberlaw Clinic, wrote on X that she tried to report the suspect’s account. However, she got a response back from X saying the account hadn’t broken safety policies, the CNN report says. 

According to the Wayback Machine, the account was still up on August 23, but by August 24, it was suspended. The killing occurred on August 18 at 5 p.m., according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

X has not responded to Insider’s request for comment ahead of this article’s publication.

The victim of the shooting, Carleton, owned a clothing store called Mag Pi in Southern California. Carleton, 66, was not a member of the LGBTQ+ community but was an ally who had a rainbow Pride flag hanging in front of her store. The shooting death of Carleton is now being investigated as a hate crime

The suspect and owner of the now-suspended X account was eventually identified as Travis Ikeguchi, according to USA Today. Before shooting Carleton, he stood outside of the store making negative comments about the pride flag, according to SBSD. The suspect was killed by police after shooting Carleton. 

The consequences of layoffs and “free-speech absolutism?” 

Ever since Elon Musk took over the platform in 2022, things have been a little different, for better or for worse. 

In March 2022 Musk described himself as a “free speech absolutist.” He criticized X, which was then called Twitter, for its policies, which he believed encouraged censorship and went against free speech.

However, X has also been slower to respond to reports and more hate speech has been seen on the platform. This is according to information from the European Commission that was released in November. For example, the use of the N-word spiked 500% in the 12 hours after Musk bought the platform. Hateful language against women, Jewish people, and the LGBTQ+ community was also noticeably higher

The platform also saw major layoffs after Musk took over. Eighty percent of the company’s staff were laid off, according to a BBC interview with Musk. Before Musk’s takeover, the company had 7,800 employees. As of April, the company only had 1,500 employees.

A smaller team may be the reason why the platform is taking longer to respond to serious situations. And with more hate speech bypassing moderation, those with plans to harm others may go unnoticed. 

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