Elon Musk has made it clear that he’s a proponent of free speech, and that protecting free speech is one of the pivotal reasons behind his acquiring Twitter.
“The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence,” wrote Musk in a recent Twitter post offering the rationale behind the acquisition.
Musk officially acquired Twitter on Friday, October 28th. What followed was a slew of users posting Tweets full of “slurs and other derogatory terms,” to troll and test the limits of free speech on the platform. According to Yoel Roth, the head of safety & integrity at Twitter, more than 50,000 Tweets with hateful slurs were posted within 48 hours of the acquisition, with a majority of them coming from just 300 accounts.
Over the last 48 hours, we’ve seen a small number of accounts post a ton of Tweets that include slurs and other derogatory terms. To give you a sense of scale: More than 50,000 Tweets repeatedly using a particular slur came from just 300 accounts.
— Yoel Roth (@yoyoel) October 30, 2022
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
As stated by Roth, Twitter has started taking action against these bad actors. “Nearly all of these accounts are inauthentic. We’ve taken action to ban the users involved in this trolling campaign — and are going to continue working to address this in the days to come to make Twitter safe and welcoming for everyone,” said Roth.
Musk made it clear that while he wants Twitter to be a free speech safe haven, he also can not let the platform become a “free-for-all hellscape,” and that there will be consequences for those who spread hate or incite violence.
Further, Musk also stated that he intends to establish a ‘Content Moderation Council’ with members offering widely diverse viewpoints,” to tackle such instances and decide whether to take down certain posts or not.