Elon Musk, a staunch critic of the media, took aim at a BBC report claiming that misogyny on Twitter has soared under his leadership of the platform. STR—NurPhoto via Getty Images
Elon Musk derided a British BBC report that claimed hate speech targeting women on Twitter had been on the rise since he took over the social media platform.
Citing data from British think tank Strategic Dialogue, the government-funded broadcaster wrote on Monday that there was a 69% increase in the number of new Twitter accounts created after the entrepreneur took over that followed misogynist and abusive profiles.
The claims in the story contradict previous claims by Musk that the hate speech escalated after a brief spike around the time he acquired the company for $44 billion in late October.
“I’m sorry I turned Twitter from a nurturing paradise to a place of … trolls,” he said tweeted post a screenshot of an ‘organization calling itself’ article in response [the] big black cock”.
EXCL: Twitter insiders have told me and BBC Panorama that it is no longer able to protect users from trolls, state-coordinated disinformation and child exploitation. Exclusive data and testimonials from Twitter users suggest that hate and trolling are flourishing. BBC One, 8pm.https://t.co/EhfMapHayV
— Marianna Spring (@mariannaspring) March 6, 2023
Musk has been a lightning rod of controversy ever since the self-described “freedom of speech absolutist” forcibly bought the company.
Just hours after he first showed up at headquarters using a gag sink as a joke, he spread false claims that the attack on former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband may have been an altercation between gay lovers. Musk later apologized in January.
Furthermore, after promising from the start that Twitter would not turn into a poisonous cesspool for advertisers, he vowed a “thermonuclear name and infamycampaign against those companies that stopped spending on Twitter ads.
Moderate influences like Esther Crawford, who reportedly helped smooth over disagreements between Musk and Apple CEO Tim Cook, have since been unleashed.
The BBC report also spoke to ex-employees, including Lisa Jennings Young, former Twitter head of content design and one of the people who specialized in introducing features designed to protect users from hate.
After Musk fired her entire team, Jennings Young told the British broadcaster that she chose to leave at the end of November and could no longer identify roles that helped reduce online attacks.
“There’s no one to work on that right now,” she said in the report.
Twitter’s goal is to supplant the mainstream media as a news-gathering force
Musk’s mocking response to the report should come as no surprise.
The centibillionaire is a staunch critic of trained reporters, going so far as to cut off all lines of communication by firing Twitter’s entire PR department in accordance with the measures he had long taken against Tesla.
Instead, he wants to position Twitter as the ultimate crowdsourced news aggregator that relies on a volunteer army of “citizen journalists” who he believes are more trustworthy than professional media outlets with their editorial slant.
Hate speech displays by 1/3 lower than pre-peak levels. Congratulations to the Twitter team! pic.twitter.com/5BWaQoIlip
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 24, 2022
However, Musk has tweaked the platform’s recommendation algorithm to increase its $8 per month subscriber reach as a Twitter Blue service perk in a pay-to-play scheme of sorts.
“While Twitter pursues the goal of taking citizen journalism to the next level, the media elite will do everything they can to prevent that from happening,” he said. posted November. He then commented in January that “the media wants to control what you know”.
Musk also angered human rights groups after gutting teams responsible for monitoring human rights and hate speech, for example in foreign languages that artificial intelligence has a hard time understanding and filtering out contextually.
“We’re not talking about … hurt feelings, we’re talking about preventing dangerous genocidal hate speech,” the executive director of human rights organization Equality Labs told reporters in late November. “It only takes four hours from a tweet to transition into a mass atrocity in the Indian context.”
In an effort to restore confidence that post-Musk Twitter is no longer putting its thumb on the scales of social discourse, a critique he leveled at it under previous management, Musk vowed last month to reveal his inner workings by using his own recommendation algorithm. to make the platform open source.
Nevertheless, despite promising it would happen before March, he failed to deliver.