Under Elon Musk’s management, Twitter could become a ‘supercharged engine of radicalization,’ critics warn

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  • Elon Musk accomplished his long-awaited Twitter acquisition on Thursday, immediately firing executives.
  • Critics worry the Tesla CEO, a self-styled free speech absolutist, will usher in additional hate speech.
  • Media Matters president Angelo Carusone mentioned Musk will use Twitter “to advance his own red-pilled ideological agenda.”

Elon Musk on Thursday accomplished his long-awaited $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, immediately firing top executives and prompting concern amongst critics who fear the self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” will usher in additional extremism and hate speech onto the platform.

“Elon Musk’s acquisition and subsequent running of Twitter will radically transform the current information landscape in much the same way that the emergence of Fox News changed the information landscape back in the late ’90s — and we will all be worse off for it,” Angelo Carusone, president of the left-leaning nonprofit media watchdog Media Matters for America, mentioned in a assertion, predicting the rise of right-wing extremism as a direct consequence of Musk’s management. 

Musk, who has maintained he’s a “free speech absolutist” regardless of a professional reputation of silencing critics with retaliation and threats of lawsuits, has lengthy denounced Twitter’s content material moderation insurance policies. The new “Chief Twit” has publicly lambasted what he has suggested is partisan censorship on the platform, together with the choice to ban former president Donald Trump — which Musk said in May he would reverse.

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Lawmakers, media watchdogs, and advocacy groups have mentioned for months that Musk’s buy of the platform would have immense consequences for data privacy, along with a rise in harassment, extremism, and hyperpartisanship, and have renewed their calls following Thursday’s completion of the deal.

“Despite his claim that he wished to purchase Twitter to ‘assist humanity,’ Elon Musk has a record of posting and defending dangerous anti-LGBTQ content material in addition to content material that harms different marginalized communities,” learn a statement by the nonprofit Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. “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.”

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Jesse Lehrich, the co-founder of watchdog nonprofit Accountable Tech, mentioned Musk’s firing of Vijaya Gadde — a prime Twitter authorized and coverage govt who headed the workforce that determined to take away Trump from the platform — was a “long-term catastrophe,” calling Gadde the corporate’s “moral compass,” Politico reported.

While Musk didn’t reply to a request for remark for this story, a spokesperson for Twitter referred to two tweets posted by the brand new proprietor of the social platform concerning the future of content material moderation.

On Thursday, Musk posted that almost all of the hypothesis surrounding his motivation to purchase Twitter has been unsuitable and mentioned the platform “obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences.” Instead, he mentioned, Twitter should observe “the laws of the land” and “be warm and welcoming to all,” with out specifying tips on how to accomplish that purpose.

Musk has not but detailed any potential coverage modifications however, on Friday, tweeted that no content material moderation insurance policies have but modified on the platform. In a separate tweet, he said a “content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints” shall be convened earlier than coverage modifications or account reinstatements are made.

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In the meantime, a social media analysis group informed The Washington Post that use of the N-word on Twitter jumped by almost 500% after the Musk takeover. Researchers from Memetica, a digital investigations firm, additionally discovered a surge in Twitter accounts that adopted right-wing media accounts like Tucker Carlon and One America News Network within the first 24 hours following the finished deal, The New York Times reported.

“Simply put: Twitter is now on a glide path to becoming a supercharged engine of radicalization,” Carusone of Media Matters’ assertion added. “Under Musk’s leadership, Twitter will become a fever swamp of dangerous conspiracy theories, partisan chicanery, and operationalized harassment.”

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