A new study finds that antisemitism spiked after Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter and remains „higher than ever.”
A new study by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and CASM Technology found that hostility and discrimination against Jewish people on Twitter not only spiked after billionaire Elon Musk’s takeover, but has remained at heightened levels ever since, reports the Euronews.
When Musk took over the social media platform in October, he promised to loosen restrictions on the freedom of speech, particularly by reducing content moderation and allowing banned accounts back.
His move caused significant concern, with many fearing that the platform would become a „hellscape” filled with toxic, inflammatory content and misinformation. However, Musk previously announced a policy to combat hateful content.
Nevertheless, according to the newly published report, the volume of antisemitic tweets in English more than doubled in the immediate aftermath of Musk’s takeover.
The study used a hate speech detection methodology combining over twenty machine-learning models. It detected a total of 325,739 antisemitic tweets in English in the six months from June 2022 to February 2023.
In November, Musk tweeted that hateful content will be „deboosted” and „demonetised” on the platform, which means that only those who actively seek such posts will find them, „which is no different from the rest of the Internet,” he claims.
However, despite Musk’s pledge, the report revealed that antisemitic accounts were created at more than triple the rate in the period after his takeover, and engagement with antisemitic content on Twitter also remained steady.
The spectrum of hateful content is broad, including „conspiracy theories referring to Jewish control of finance, media and politics, overt support for antisemitic comments made by public figures such as Kanye West, and the promotion of overtly and profoundly racist white supremacy.”
The website of Twitter reads: „You may not attack other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.”
And while the report revealed that the removal of antisemitic content on Twitter appears to have increased since the October deal, the increase has „not kept pace” with the absolute increase of hateful content.
In March, the EU told Twitter to hire more human content moderators amid concerns about increased illegal content.