Hate speech surged on Twitter after Elon Musk takeover, new research shows US News


The use of hateful language on Twitter has increased significantly since Elon Musk took over, according to new research.

Mr Musk completed his $44 billion acquisition of the social networking platform in late October and promptly fired it about half of the company’s 8,000 employees.

Although the head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth, said at the time that frontline moderation staff had experienced “the least impact”, he – after stepping down – resigned last week said Twitter was no safer under Mr Musk.

On Friday, the US-based Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) released a report looking at the rise of hateful language on the platform.

About his findings:

• Daily use of the word “n****r” has tripled compared to the 2022 average since Mr. Musk took over
• Daily c***s usage increased by 33% over the same period
• Daily use of “f****t” increased by 58%
• Daily use of “tr***y” increased by 62%

The news comes just days after Mr Musk tweeted his congratulations to the team, saying that “impressions of hate speech” were “a third lower than before the peak”.

He also claimed on November 18 that Twitter’s new policy is “free speech, not free reach,” adding, “Negative/hate tweets will be maximally devalued and demonstrated, so no advertising or other revenue for Twitter.”

“You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically search for it, which is no different from the rest of the internet.”

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But the CCDH report found that average engagement with tweets containing insults also skyrocketed.

In the two weeks prior to Mr. Musk’s acquisition, the average number of replies, retweets, and likes for tweets containing “n****r,” “tr***y,” or “f****t” was 13 .3, but after the takeover, it jumped to 49.5 – a 272% increase.

As a case study, the study examined anti-LGBTQ+ tweets following the Colorado Springs shooting that killed five people at an LGBTQ nightclub on November 19.

They focused on the hateful “grooming” rhetoric that tweeted tens of millions of times after filming.

In the three months before Mr. Musk took over Twitter, the 10 accounts most responsible for this rhetoric gained a combined 222,709 followers per month, on average over the three months.

In the month after Musk acquired them, they gained a total of 944,205 followers — an increase of more than 320%.

It’s not the first time concerns have been raised about how Mr Musk’s leadership is transforming Twitter.

That Rollback of the platform’s COVID misinformation policy is intended to give opponents of vaccination more freedom, while its announcement of a The “general amnesty” will allow those previously banned for violating the Twitter Rules to return.

Among them are white supremacists, misogynists and far-right conspiracy theorists.

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On Friday, Mr Musk appeared to address the CCDH report when he tweeted: “Hate speech impressions – how many times a tweet has been viewed – continue to decline despite significant user growth.”

He promised the data would be released weekly, adding: “Freedom of expression does not mean freedom of reach.

“Negativity should and will get less reach than positivity.

“There are roughly 500 million tweets per day and billions of impressions, so hate speech impressions make up less than 0.1% of what’s seen on Twitter.”

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