Twitter is fighting an increase in hateful tweets after Elon Musk officially took over the company on Friday. Yoel Roth, head of platform security and integrity, said on Twitter that the company is taking action against an “organized effort” to spread hate speech on the platform.
According to Roth, a “small number” of accounts have posted a flood of tweets containing “slur and other derogatory terms” in the past two days, aiming to trick users into thinking that Twitter’s policy on content moderation has changed. Roth says only 300 accounts have sent more than 50,000 tweets with a “certain slur,” and nearly all of the accounts in question are not authentic.
Similarly, the Network Contagion Research Institute posted a tweet on Friday, showing that N-word use on Twitter increased nearly 500 percent compared to the previous average, stating that recent posts on 4chan “encourage users to amplify derogatory comments.” Twitter has already banned some of the users involved in the campaign and is stepping up its efforts to fight hate speech on the platform.
Although Musk said that he made no changes According to the Twitter policy, some users are under the impression that the platform’s content moderation rules will become more lenient with Musk at the helm. Musk previously described himself as a “free speech absolutist” and says he wants to make Twitter a “free speech platform”. This has raised concerns about how Twitter plans to handle hate speech and misinformation, which some users have already started spewing in an effort to test the limits of the platform’s rules.
Shortly after Musk took over Twitter, the Associate Press reported an influx of conservative personalities and far-right users tweeting debunked conspiracy theories and buzzwords, such as “ivermectin” or “Trump won.” Meanwhile, conservative Twitter accounts of the likes of Candace Owens, a conservative media personality, and Kari Lake, a Republican candidate in the Arizona governor’s race, saw an unusual increase in followers, according to The New York Times.
“Twitter policy hasn’t changed,” Roth says. “Hateful behavior has no place here… We have taken action to ban the users involved in this trolling campaign – and will continue to work on this over the coming days to make Twitter safe and welcoming for everyone.”
Still, both advertisers and users may have good reasons to be concerned. On Sunday, Musk tweeted an unfounded conspiracy theory about: the attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. from Musk tweet now deleted linked to a false story from an outlet known for spreading misinformation, stating, “There’s a slight possibility there’s more to this story than meets the eye.”