Hate speech soars on Twitter despite Musk’s claim of drop in hateful posts: report

In November, Musk said hateful speech declined on the platform

December 05, 2022 01:38 pm | Updated 05:21 pm IST

A file photo of the Twitter logo and a photo of Elon Musk displayed through magnifier.

A file photo of the Twitter logo and a photo of Elon Musk displayed through magnifier. | Photo Credit: Reuters

Hate speech on Twitter has risen despite Elon Musk saying that hate speech impressions were down by one-third, according to a report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH). The report noted that there has been an uptick in the amount of hateful language being tweeted on the platform.

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The report also noted that despite claims from Twitter’s Head of Trust and Safety, Yoel Roth, that the platform had succeeded in reducing the number of times hate speech was visible on Twitter search and page, there has been a spike in the number of hateful tweets.

The average number of retweets and replies on posts with slur was 13.3 in the weeks leading to Musk’s stance on Twitter’s work culture that saw hundreds of employees resign from the company. Since his takeover, average engagements on hateful speech have increased to 49.5, according to the report.

An average of 1,282 tweets with slurs against Black people on Twitter before Musk took over, that number has jumped to 3, 876 after he took over. Slurs against transgender people also increased by 62% since Musk bought the company.

In November, Musk stated that hateful speech declined on the platform “contrary to what you may read in the press.” He also said that hateful tweets would be “deboosted and demonetized” so users would not see them unless they went looking for them.

In response to a report from New York Times on the rise of hate speech on the platform, Musk on December 3 responded with a tweet calling it “utterly false”.

Musk also shared that Twitter will publish weekly data while maintaining that hate speech impressions are declining. 

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