X kept up majority of 300 posts reported for “extreme hate speech:” Report

The Center for Countering Digital Hate said that X did not take action against a large majority of the 300 posts it reported for “extreme hate speech,” even as X denied the claims

September 20, 2023 01:27 pm | Updated 02:15 pm IST

Organisations have pointed to a rise in hate speech on Twitter since it was taken over by Elon Musk [File]

Organisations have pointed to a rise in hate speech on Twitter since it was taken over by Elon Musk [File] | Photo Credit: Reuters

The Center for Countering Digital Hate, which studies prejudice across digital platforms, published a report this month which stated that out of 300 posts reported for hate speech, X (formerly Twitter) continued to host 86% of them.

The 300 posts came from 100 X accounts and promoted hateful ideologies such as antisemitism, racism, neo-Nazism, and white supremacism. A week after making the reports between August and September this year, 259 of the 300 hateful posts were active while 90 of the 100 accounts were still up, as per the organisation.

The CCDH also shared screenshots of the hateful posts that were left up, sometimes with ads from companies such as Apple running close to them.

“X continued to host these posts even after they were reported, despite them clearly violating the platform’s policies against hateful content, which prohibit racist slurs, dehumanization, and hateful imagery such as the Nazi swastika,” said the organisation.

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However, X had criticised the company over its search methodology and publicly complained that CCDH did not share the report with it beforehand.

In a statement posted on Friday, X’s official Safety team called the assertions “misleading” and defended its enforcement process.

“The posts that violated our rules were each viewed on average 168 times by 84 unique users, which now includes an unfortunate 10% increase in reach due to publishing the report before sharing their findings with us,” said part of X’s statement.

X said it had taken action on all posts in the report’s sample and said its doors were always open to companies that wanted to help improve its approach.

X owner Elon Musk, who identifies as a free speech absolutist, has threatened to sue the CCDH over its work. He also wanted to sue the Anti-Defamation League which advocates for Jewish rights, claiming that the organisation had destroyed a large part of X’s value by pressuring advertisers into a boycott. He did not share any evidence to substantiate the link between the ADL and X’s falling value.

CCDH founder and CEO Imran Ahmed called X’s response “outrageous” and pointed out that researchers had indeed reported the hateful posts beforehand - using X’s own reporting mechanisms.

“So don’t whine that we didn’t tell you in advance,” wrote Ahmed on Friday on X. “Adults take responsibility.”

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