New Study Finds That Antisemitism On Twitter Has 'Surged' Since Elon Musk Takeover

Photo:  Marlena Sloss (Getty Images)
Photo: Marlena Sloss (Getty Images)

A new report by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) and CASM Technology revealed that there has been a “surge” in the creation of accounts that post antisemitic content on Twitter since Elon Musk bought the app. The study employed machine-learning tools to find likely antisemitic tweets.

Researchers trained a machine-learning tool to identify tweets that “plausibly” matched at least one interpretation of what the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s calls antisemitism. According to the organization, this includes making “dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews” as well as “Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews.”

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The results showed that the average weekly number of hateful posts “more than doubled after Musk’s acquisition.” There was an average of over 6,200 posts per week that apparently had antisemitic language between June 1 and October 27 (Musk bought Twitter on October 27). However, that number increased to over 12,700 through early February which translates to a 105 percent increase.

Jacob Davey, who is in charge of research and policy on hate movements at ISD, said: “We’re seeing a sustained volume of antisemitic hate speech on the platform following the takeover.” Musk, on the other hand, denies an increase of hate speech. In December, advocacy groups reported that hate speech was happening more and more on Twitter after he acquired it.

Musk responded by tweeting a graph and stating: “Hate speech impressions (# of times tweet was viewed) continue to decline, despite significant user growth! @TwitterSafety will publish data weekly. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom of reach. Negativity should & will get less reach than positivity.”

In addition, Musk said he will continue to support “freedom of speech” and denies his role in the proliferation of bigotry on the app. “New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach. Negative/hate tweets will be max deboosted & demonetized, so no ads or other revenue to Twitter,” he tweeted. “You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically seek it out, which is no different from rest of Internet.”

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