After Tesla boss Elon Musk bought the messenger service Twitter, the number of racist and extremist messages increased rapidly. This shows an analysis. There is concern that a new wave of online hate will be fueled.
In the hours following Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover, the number of racist slurs, extremist messages and Nazi memes on the platform has skyrocketed. This is reported by the US newspaper “Washington Post” based on an analysis of the social network. These developments raise fears that the Musk acquisition could fuel a new wave of online hate. Because the Tesla boss had made it clear several times that he advocated unrestricted freedom of expression on the platform that now belongs to him.
Shortly after its takeover, mass racist slurs were posted. “Elon now controls Twitter,” one account said. “Give me the racist insults,” it said. Use of the N-word on the Twitter app increased nearly 500 percent in the 12 hours after Musk’s deal. This was analyzed by the Network Contagion Research Institute. “I heard there’s been some changes here,” posted one user, who tweeted a video montage glorifying Nazi Germany. Anti-Semitic memes and Nazi swastikas sometimes received hundreds of likes. According to the analysis, misogynist and anti-LGBTQ messages also increased.
Musk had previously presented himself as an “absolutist of free speech”. Major substantive decisions would not be made until a new “moderation council” is formed, the Tesla boss said on Friday. Paul M. Barrett, associate director of New York University’s Center for Business and Human Rights, said such advice would draw even more skepticism under Musk because of his “notoriously erratic and bossy personality.”