ELON Musk has accused a BBC journalist of lying during a hastily arranged interview in with the broadcaster.

Speaking to BBC technology reporter James Clayton from Twitter HQ in San Francisco, Musk said that the “pain level has been extremely high” since buying the social media platform for $44 billion last October. 

But he claimed that it was "roughly breaking even” after facing a 40% drop in revenue.

Musk said he had slashed the workforce at Twitter from nearly 8000 workers to around 1500 in an attempt to make the business profitable.

“Things are going reasonably well,” he said. “We’ve seen some all-time highs in terms of total user time. We passed eight billion user minutes per day, which is a lot of user minutes.

“Usage is up, growth is good, the site works, mostly. We have a few glitches here and there.

“There have been a few outages but not for very long.”

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The Tesla boss said that the site had been run “like a non-profit” and that it had just “four months to live” when he took over.

Now, Musk claims that advertisers are returning to the platform after more than 500 clients reportedly paused their spending – although he refused to give any examples of companies that have returned.

After Clayton challenged Musk on the labelling of the BBC as “government-funded media” on Twitter, he said that the label would be adjusted.

“We want [the tag to be] as truthful and accurate as possible,” he added. “We’re adjusting the label to [being] publicly funded, we’ll try to be accurate.”

But when asked about an increase in hate speech on the platform, Musk accused the BBC journalist of lying.

Clayton said: “We’ve spoken to people very recently who were involved in moderation and they say there’s not enough people to police this stuff, particularly hate speech.”

However, Musk then stated that he had not seen an increase in hate speech on the platform and pressed Clayton to describe what he felt was hateful content.

“Content that will solicit a reaction, that may include something that is slightly racist, slightly sexist, those kinds of things,” said Clayton.

Musk replied: “So, you think if something is slightly sexist it should be banned?

“I can’t understand what you mean by hateful content. I’m asking for specific examples and you just said if something is slightly sexist then that’s hateful content. Does that mean that it should be banned?

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“Can you name one example? You can’t name a single example? You said you’ve seen more hateful content but can’t name a single example. Not even one.

“I say, sir, that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Because you can’t give a single example of hateful content, not even one tweet, and yet you claimed that hateful content was high.

“That’s false. You just lied.”

Clayton said he had noticed an increase in "hateful content" on his For You feed but did not provide an example. 

In December, the US-based Center for Countering Digital Hate released a report which claimed that there had been an increase in hateful language on Twitter since Musk purchased the platform.

It found that daily use of the n-word was up three-fold compared to the average across 2022, with use of the words “f****t” and “tr***y” also increasing by more than 50%.