Is there really less hate speech on Twitter as Elon Musk claims?

Contrary to what Elon Musk assures, the number and virality of hate tweets have not decreased and have even multiplied according to a study. The reintroduction of accounts like Donald Trump’s is not going to help matters.

Elon Musk is sure of himself. In support of a graph, he claims this Thursday that “hate speech impressions are down by a third from pre-peak levels. Kudos to the Twitter team!”

The billionaire does not give any source on which he would rely to provide his figures. But according to the graph, from the day of the Twitter takeover on October 28, the number of impressions on hate tweets would have dropped drastically.

While Twitter’s moderation teams have been fired or resigned, today they would be stretched thin. Elon Musk also did not wait for a moderation council to be formed to rehabilitate certain long-banned accounts such as that of Donald Trump, but also that of Jordan Peterson, far-right provocateur, of Babylon Bee. , a conservative satirical organ or Kanye West, who had been banned for having made anti-Semitic remarks.

And it should go from bad to worse, because a study by Digital Planet of American Tufts University in Boston shows that even before the return of these accounts, the number of hateful tweets increased in an increasing way. Since returning to Twitter, Trump has not used his account, but researchers have been warning for months that his return could lead to a wave of hate and misinformation on the platform. Study of millions of tweets shows that hate speech has become more visible on Twitter under Musk’s leadership.

“A much more important place”

For their study, researchers at Tufts University analyzed hate speech on Twitter between March 1 and November 13, so before and after Musk took over the social network in late October. For this, they used the flow of each tweet and their popularity over 24 hours. For each stream received, they gathered the 20 most popular by classifying them according to three categories: anti-LGBTQ+, racist or anti-Semitic.

As a result, in the months leading up to Musk’s takeover, researchers found a single hateful tweet on all three lists. But, in the weeks since Musk’s takeover of Twitter, the same analysis found that “hateful tweets have taken on much greater prominence.” Thus, among the most popular tweets, 7 of the first 20 posts in each category were hateful. Interviewed by the media Wired, Jiore Craig, head of digital integrity at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue believes “the upsurge in hate speech on Twitter is troubling because, although the platform is small compared to other social networks, it has an outsized capacity to shape the public conversation. This is because of its popularity with journalists and politicians and the way the media uses tweets as an indicator of public opinion.

The new policy of the management of Twitter and the resurgence of hate speech are scaring away advertisers, yet the platform’s main financial source, enough to worry the new boss who prefers ask your community if they want all banned accounts back.

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