Hate speech terms increase on Twitter after Musk's acquisition, Montclair University study says

At this point, no official policy changes have been made to Twitter

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Tuesday, November 1, 2022
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Elon Musk has completed his deal to buy Twitter and has taken control, firing CEO Parag Agrawal and CFO Ned Segal, according to sources.

MONTCLAIR, New Jersey (WABC) -- As part of Elon Musk's campaign to takeover Twitter, he touted free speech.

But some might argue that free speech can come at a cost to others.

One study from Montclair University found that hate speech increased on Twitter mere hours after Elon Musk's official acquisition of the platform.

The study claims that the perception of some extremist users at the time of the acquisition was that content restrictions would be alleviated.

But Musk has said he does not want the platform to become a "free-for-all hellscape."

Musk has also tweeted in the days since he has taken control of the platform the hashtag "#FreeSpeech" and in reply, "#SoBrave."

The study from a team of faculty from Montclair State University's Center for Strategic Communication tracked the use of certain hate terms regarding individuals based on race, religion, ethnicity, and orientation.

It cites the fact that platforms that are lax in their content policies are often filled with racism, homophobia, transphobia and antisemitism.

According to the study, the seven-day average of the hate terms was never higher than 84 terms per hour prior to the acquisition.

On October 28, over the course of 12 hours immediately following the Musk's acquisition, the study found the hate speech terms were tweeted 4,778 times. That works out to about 398 hate terms per hour.

Although no official policy changes have been made to the platform as of this post, Musk has promised to reduce restrictions on the platform and that "the bird is freed" now that he is in charge.

The full study was conducted by Dr. Jin-A Choi, Dr. Bond Benton, Dr. Yi Luo and Mr. Keith Green.

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