Despite Elon Musk’s claims, Twitter has seen an increase in hate messages since late October, according to a study. By rehabilitating accounts banned for spreading hateful content, Twitter has seen an increase in racist, anti-Semitic or homophobic slurs in the past month.
The SpaceX founder had boasted of a one-third drop in the number of impressions of tweets containing hate speech from pre-spiking levels. Yet one study showed the nuance between impressions, that is, the number of times content is viewed even if you don’t click on it, and the number of hateful content posted. And according to research by the Center for Countering Digital Hate, the number of tweets containing insults against the black community increased to 3,876 posts per day after Elon Musk took over Twitter, from 1,282 daily tweets before he took over the social network.
Since his arrival, engagement generated by hateful content has increased by 49.5%, according to the report. On average, a tweet containing racist or hateful remarks attracted an average of 13.3 “likes”, comments and retweets before the Musk era.
The study analyzed tweets during Elon Musk’s first week as CEO of Twitter and observed a tripling of tweets and retweets mentioning the racist word “nigger” with an average of 26,228 tweets and retweets. The Hispanic community is also targeted with a 67% increase in tweets and retweets mentioning the racist slur “spic.”
Insults against gay people have also increased to an average of 3,964 tweets per day compared to 2,506 daily tweets before Elon Musk. Anti-Semitic slurs referring to Jews and Judaism rose by 61% just two weeks after the billionaire took over Twitter. According to the researchers, these increases were “unusually high,” the New York Times pointed out. “Elon Musk sent the bat signal to all kinds of racists, misogynists and homophobes that Twitter was open for business,” Imran Ahmed, executive director of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, told The New York Times. “They responded accordingly.”
Even recently, Elon Musk announced the possible return of banned accounts, opening the door for the return of accounts that glorify terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State or even the QAnon plot. Kanye West had also returned to the platform, only to be suspended again after tweeting a picture of a Star of David with a swastika in the middle.
Twitter also announced the end of its content moderation on Covid-19, further worrying internet users.