No one disagrees with Elon Musk about the success of Twitter moderation

Elon Musk welcomed the success of his moderation policy in early December. But many signals go against this claim.

The hate is back on Twitter. Or more precisely, she expresses herself there with much more ease than before. This is the conclusion of work done in the United States and which the New York Times repeated on December 2, 2022. A conclusion that Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, rebelled against, call her” completely wrong ».

The observations of several organizations since the American businessman’s acquisition of the social network underline a sharp increase in anti-Semitic messages (a jump of more than 60% two weeks after the acquisition of Twitter). As for homophobic content, their daily appearance has increased by more than 58%.

Elon Musk, new owner of Twitter. // Source: Numerama

Even in the field of counter-terrorism, studies indicate a very clear relaxation of the Community side. In the first twelve days after Elon Musk took office, 450 accounts controlled by the Islamic State organization were discovered. That’s a 69% increase over the previous 12 days.

These various analyzes were provided by the Center for Combating Digital Hate, the Anti-Defamation League and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. ” Elon Musk sent a bat signal to all racists, misogynists and homophobes that Twitter was available. They then responded Commented Imran Ahmed, the head of the Center for Countering Digital Hate.

Elon Musk is happy with his moderation policy on Twitter

The increase in illegal speech is also favored by Elon Musk’s policies. He saw fit to pardon a large number of banned accounts, based on an online survey – instead of using the moderator he had promised to create. More than 12,000 profiles have been reactivated, including neo-Nazis and anti-Semites.

The same day the New York Times article was published, Elon Musk published his own findings, suggesting its crucial impact on moderation. In a graph extending from October 17 to November 30, 2022, the display of hateful content, after a spectacular peak, would have fallen to a lower threshold than that previously observed.

The number of hate speech impressions (number of times the tweet was seen) continues to decrease despite a significant increase in the number of users! […] Freedom of speech does not mean freedom of access. Negativity should and will have less reach than positivity “, he said. According to him, hateful content carries weight less than 0.1% of the total number of exposures. However, it is surprising that while the amount of hateful content is increasing, the impressions of this speech are decreasing. Elon Musk does not provide further details.

The limits of Elon Musk’s strategy were clear with the sequence around the rapper Kanye West. He delivered several anti-Semitic messages and pushed Elon Musk to crack down, even though a few months earlier he presented himself as a “free speech absolutist”. It is not the first time that the singer has been kicked out of the platform.

Twitter responds less quickly to reports

The Flaws of Twitter Moderation was also highlighted from the European Commission. If Brussels observes an overall decrease in mobilization among the platforms that have signed the EU code of conduct (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc.), it is Twitter that ” registers the biggest drop over a year “.

As part of this code of conduct, platforms are required to process reports of hate messages within 24 hours. In 2020, partner sites managed to process 90.4% of messages on time. This statistic dropped to 81% in 2021 and 64.4% in 2022. Only TikTok remains on a positive curve.

The collapse of moderation on Twitter is due, among other things, to a sharp decline in the social network’s ability to have sufficient staff to handle reviews. In mid-November, we learned that the contracts with thousands of providers have been stopped, depriving the platform of several thousand moderators.

However, on November 30, Twitter gave a very different speech: its team thus promises to continue ” his diligent work to protect the platform from hateful behavior, abuse and any violation of the Twitter rules. The team is still strong and has good resources “. However, it was also specified that the service will increasingly rely on automated detection to manage moderation. Clearly, the results are not there yet.


Elon Musk / Twitter // Source: Numerama

Leave a Comment