Use of the N-word on Twitter up by almost 500% following Elon Musk’s takeover. “Groomer”, transphobia and antisemitism also doing the rounds

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Elon Musk, Twitter
Elon Musk, Twitter

TW: Story features tweets containing racism and transphobia.

Use of the N-word on Twitter up by almost 500% following Elon Musk’s takeover, as users report increase in racism, transphobia and antisemitic remarks

 

Elon Musk’s $44bn (£38bn) deal to buy Twitter completed on Thursday and, while many were concerned over the prospect of previously removed figures potentially returning to the platform, others felt the impact rather instantly.

 

Twitter is already a fairly bleak place for many LGBTQ+ people, so understandably many advocacy groups have been concerned about its new owner.

“Despite his claim that he wanted to buy Twitter to ‘help humanity,’ Elon Musk has a record of posting and defending harmful anti-LGBTQ content as well as content that harms other marginalized communities,” said a statement released Friday by GLAAD.

 


“GLAAD remains deeply concerned about the safety of LGBTQ people on Twitter and we join other organizations that are now questioning Twitter’s future policies and actions against extremist content.”

The world’s richest man, meanwhile, tweeted “the bird is freed” and “let the good times roll” before a tweet on Friday announcing plans to run a content moderation council.

 

Late on Friday, GM Motors Co – the largest automaker in the US – pulled advertising from Twitter, saying in a statement it had temporarily halted paid ads as a “normal course of business” after a significant change in media platforms.

Elon Musk, Twitter
Elon Musk, Twitter

The Detroit automaker said it was “engaging with Twitter to understand the direction of the platform under their new ownership”, adding its “customer care interactions on Twitter will continue”.

 

Site-wide people from various marginalized groups – many of which are already subjected to a lot of hostility on the platform – reported an increase in offensive, racist, and transphobic tweets.

 

Now, the Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI), a research group that analyzes social media content to predict emerging threats, have said that use of the N-word on Twitter increased by nearly 500% in the 12 hours immediately after Musk’s deal was finalized.

The newspaper also noted that several online trolling accounts called on others to use racist language in the aftermath of the deal.

 

 

“Elon now controls twitter. Unleash the racial slurs. K—S AND N—–S,” said one account, using slurs for Jewish and Black people, per the outlet.

 

Twitter was also flooded with sexist and anti-LGBTQ messages.

Anonymous trolling accounts ran “tests” on Twitter’s moderation policies by calling for the deadnaming of transgender people and the use of offensive terms, like “groomer”.

“Almost immediately I noticed an increase in anti-trans harassment, it’s very visible,” said Erin Reed, a trans activist and queer legislative researcher, per The Washington Post.

 

Self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” Musk tried to calm the noise around discrimination on the platform, with a tweet late Friday saying: “To be super clear, we have not yet made any changes to Twitter’s content moderation policies”

 

 

Some further examples of the kind of bigotry popping-off on Twitter in the 24 hours since Musk entered the building (all live at the time of writing, but they may no longer be visible if moderated or deleted by the poster). TRIGGER WARNING: