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.
Quick Thread: @adico11 and i started tracking newly created Twitter accounts in light of elon’s takeover. Here is a brief snapshot of what we’re seeing in the right-wing media ecosystem. pic.twitter.com/DOqcafRDHy
— (((ben))) (@btdecker) October 28, 2022
“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.
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.
Twitter, despite various updates to its terms of service over the years, has always been a troubled arena when it comes to the safeguarding of its users. Reports are often poorly handled or go under-moderated.
A reminder free speech ≠ hate speech pic.twitter.com/W5ueAQFIpT
— Queer Insider 🏳️🌈 🏳️⚧️ (@qitweets) October 28, 2022
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.
Evidence suggests that bad actors are trying to test the limits on @Twitter. Several posts on 4chan encourage users to amplify derogatory slurs.
For example, over the last 12 hours, the use of the n-word has increased nearly 500% from the previous average. pic.twitter.com/mEqziaWuMF
— Network Contagion Research Institute (@ncri_io) October 28, 2022
“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”
To be super clear, we have not yet made any changes to Twitter’s content moderation policies https://t.co/k4guTsXOIu
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 29, 2022
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:
You’re a groomer. And it’s disgusting, and so are you.
— Steve Deace (@SteveDeaceShow) October 28, 2022
On Elon day I just want to say, Eddie izzard is a man.
Katie Montgomery is a man
India Willoughby is a man.
That’s it that’s the tweet.
— Jonathan Hayward(Maximus Vociferous) (@jonwhay) October 28, 2022
Eddie is a man. https://t.co/3t03NiJjnm
— Matthew Marsden (@matthewdmarsden) October 28, 2022
men can’t get pregnant
women can get pregnant
transwomen can’t get pregnant
transmen can get pregnant
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) October 28, 2022
Rachel Levine is a man.
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) October 28, 2022
Testing… testing… this is a picture of a man… testing… testing… pic.twitter.com/415kPps866
— Five Times August (@FiveTimesAugust) October 28, 2022
can you imagine foaming at the mouth, desperate for an absolutist free speech twitter, and the best you can come up with when you get it is “nigger” and “black lives don’t matter” lol pic.twitter.com/AWgpDjnjT0
— theodora (@femalekissinger) October 28, 2022
Niggers niggers niggers niggers niggers niggers niggers Niggers niggers niggers niggers niggers niggers niggers Niggers niggers niggers niggers niggers niggers niggers Niggers niggers niggers niggers niggers niggers niggers pic.twitter.com/KjiOuYW7gE
— lulll (@loldodo44) October 28, 2022
Been called a nigger 3 times today. MW2 is back
— The Slumpy Man (@Taco_Zay) October 28, 2022
WOOO LET’S FUCKING GO
— ☦️ SirGalahad 🟥⬛🟥 (@SirGa1ahad12) October 28, 2022
Twitter testing, testing 1,2,3. Woman don’t have penises. Transwomen are men. Children cannot consent to puberty blockers. Sex is real. Gender is made up rubbish.
— MissusKay 💚🤍💜🦖🇦🇺 (@MissusKay) October 28, 2022
So we can use the word “groomer” again now, right?
— Jeff “The Prophet Jeffiziah” Charles (@JeffOnTheRight) October 28, 2022
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) October 28, 2022
Anyone who wants to teach other people’s kids about sexuality and gender confusion is a (wait for it) GROOMER.
— Allie Beth Stuckey (@conservmillen) October 28, 2022
TW/CW: Transphobia, Matt Walsh
Child bride fan says what? pic.twitter.com/r2wNjifCrf
— Zombie of a Film Critic Career (@FilmCriticMaybe) October 29, 2022