Why did Elon Musk tweet 'I love Barbra Streisand'? Origin and meaning of effect explained

Elon Musk
Elon Musk's Barbra Streisand tweet explained (Image via Getty Images)

Twitter CEO Elon Musk left platform users confused after tweeting the name of singer Barbra Streisand. This comes after the entrepreneur was on a profile ban spree on the platform. It has since been revealed that the businessman was not talking about the singer but about a phenomenon in reality.

Elon Musk has suspended several Twitter accounts, including those of prominent journalists Drew Harnell, Aaron Rupar, and Ryan Mac. Popular Twitter user Jack Sweeney, best known for his account @ElonJet, has also been banned.

After doing so, Elon Musk tweeted: “I love Barbara Streisand.” His tweet also showed a note that read, “readers added context they thought people might want to know.”

The context read:

“Elon Musk is alluding to comprisons that are being made of Twitter banning accounts to the Streisand Effect, which is when to attempting conceal information results in further exposure of said information.”

Hidden meaning behind Elon Musk's Barbra Streisand tweet explained

It remains unclear as to why exactly Elon Musk decided to tweet the phrase. He also spelled Barbra's name wrong in his tweet. However, it is safe to say that the 51-year-old was talking about the Streisand Effect, in light of his recent Twitter profile bans.

The Streisand Effect refers to the unintended consequences one faces after publicizing information that one hopes to have censored. Instead of removing said information from the public, it ends up becoming more widely recognized than ever because of the backlash it receives against the censorship attempt.


According to the BBC, the Streisand Effect is defined as:

“An online phenomenon in which an attempt to hide or remove information- a photo, a video, story etc- results in the greater spread of the information in question.”

Elon Musk seemed to be hinting that he does not have a problem with the banned profiles getting traction online after the suspension announcement.

The term Streisand Effect was inspired by a 2003 incident in California. Photographer Kenneth Adelman took over 12,000 photographs of the California coastline in hopes of documenting coastal erosion. It was a government sanctioned project and was called the California Coastal Records Project. As the images were released on their official website, one could pinpoint one of singer Barbra Streisand’s California mansions.

Barbra Streisand's mansion (Image via California Coastline)
Barbra Streisand's mansion (Image via California Coastline)

The California Coast Line went on to receive a cease-and-desist letter from Streisand’s attorneys. A $50 million lawsuit was also filed against the photographer, and those part of the image hosting sites like Pictopia and Layer42 were also sued. The filing of the lawsuit then led to news publications reporting on the matter, which was hoped to stay under wraps. Unfortunately, more than 420,000 people visited the website.

The Streisand Effect has been linked to psychological reactance. This means that when one is told that they cannot have something, they want it even more because they are forbidden from having it.

Elon Musk recalls “crazy stalker” incident on Twitter

While explaining that accounts that take part in real-time doxxing will be suspended, Musk also shared the experience of being followed by a “crazy stalker.” He revealed that he and his two-year-old son X Æ A-Xii were followed in LA. The stalker also reportedly blocked the vehicle from moving and climbed on top of the hood of the car.

Musk also revealed that “legal actions” was being taken against “Sweeney & organizations who supported harm to my family.”

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Edited by Karishma Rao
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