Hate posts go up post Elon Musk takeover, Twitter says policies haven't changed
Twitter’s Yoel Roth explained that the social media platform’s policies around hateful conduct haven't changed.
A social media research group Network Contagion Research Institute has revealed that the use of the N-word slur increased by nearly 500 per cent on Twitter after Elon Musk took over.
An organized trolling campaign tweeting slurs tens of thousands of times tested Twitter's moderation policies after the platform was taken over by billionaire Elon Musk, its safety chief said on Saturday, adding that the rules "haven't changed."
Hours after the takeover by self-declared "free speech absolutist" Musk late Thursday, far-right voices celebrated what they said was their newly-reclaimed right to free speech with posts questioning transgender identity and masks, racial slurs and other derogatory terms.
Twitter’s Yoel Roth explained that the social media platform’s policies around hateful conduct haven't changed. In a series of tweets, he wrote, “Twitter’s policies haven’t changed. Hateful conduct has no place here. And we’re taking steps to put a stop to an organized effort to make people think we have."
“Our Rules prohibit Hateful Conduct. This includes targeting people with dehumanizing content and slurs. This DOESN’T mean we have a list of words that are always banned. Context matters. For example, our policies are written to protect reclaimed speech."
“Over the last 48 hours, we’ve seen a small number of accounts post a ton of Tweets that include slurs and other derogatory terms. To give you a sense of scale: More than 50,000 Tweets repeatedly using a particular slur came from just 300 accounts."
“Nearly all of these accounts are inauthentic. We’ve taken action to ban the users involved in this trolling campaign — and are going to continue working to address this in the days to come to make Twitter safe and welcoming for everyone"
Roth also retweeted a Musk post in which the Tesla chief reiterated that "we have not yet made any changes to Twitter's content moderation policies."
It is the "yet" that is making many of the platform's users nervous about the direction in which Musk wants to take Twitter, one of the leading platforms for global discourse and diplomacy.
NBA star LeBron James also called on to take action on such accounts. In a tweet, he wrote, “I don't know Elon Musk and, tbh, I could care less who owns twitter. But I will say that if this is true, I hope he and his people take this very seriously because this is scary AF. So many damn unfit people saying hate speech is free speech."
Musk commented on James post and directed to read the reply by Roth on Twitter.
Musk has vowed to dial back content moderation, relying more on computer algorithms than human monitors. Conservatives say past moderation has unfairly targeted their views.
But detractors warn that without standards, the world's "digital town square" is at risk of becoming a free-for-all of misinformation, with possibly perilous consequences for democracy and public health.
Earlier, while explaining free speech, Musk had said that by free speech, he meant that which matches the law. “I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law," he said. "By “free speech", I simply mean that which matches the law. I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law. If people want less free speech, they will ask government to pass laws to that effect. Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people," he had said in a tweet.
“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, , and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated," he had wrote. The SpaceX founder also hoped that his worst critics also remain on Twitter, "because that is what free speech means," he had said.
(With inputs from AFP)
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