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Elon Musk says activists want to “destroy free speech” as advertisers flee Twitter

New Twitter proprietor Elon Musk stated the company has seen a “massive drop” in income, blaming civil rights and different advocacy teams for scaring off advertisers as he strikes quick to put his imprint on the social media platform.

Numerous advertisers have paused their spending on Twitter as the Tesla CEO makes sweeping adjustments on the company. Twitter staff on Friday began to obtain layoff discover amid reviews that Musk plans to minimize about 3,700 jobs — roughly half of Twitter’s workforce. The cuts embrace staff accountable for imposing group requirements and security measures throughout the platform. 

Previously, Musk has expressed his need to make Twitter much less reliant on promoting — probably by charging an $8 month-to-month payment for verification — as effectively as to unleash “free speech” on the service and remove bots. But Musk tweeted Friday that “nothing has changed with content moderation” and stated “we did everything we could to appease the activists,” with out specifying the teams he was alluding to.

“Extremely messed up! They’re trying to destroy free speech in America,” Musk stated.

Human rights activists are magnifying requires firms to cease pumping their advert {dollars} into Musk’s pocket, arguing that his insurance policies will gasoline hate speech, together with abusive and racist language and imagery they are saying has proliferated on Twitter since accomplished this takeover on October 28. They are dubbing the trouble #StopToxicTwitter. 

“Within 24 hours of Musk taking ownership, the platform was inundated with hate and disinformation,” the coalition of activist teams stated in an open letter to the CEOs of the 20 largest advertisers on the platform. “Without deliberate efforts by Twitter to address this type of abuse and hate, your brands will be actively supporting accelerating extremism.”


Elon Musk makes coverage adjustments, shakes up Twitter

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The group stated Twitter’s advertisers “have a moral and civic obligation to take a stand against the degradation of one of the world’s most influential communications platforms.” They’re urging firms to freeze their spending till Musk reveals he’ll implement measures aimed toward preserving the integrity of elections, together with investing extra in human fact-checkers and moderators.

Free Press, one of many teams, stated there have been doubtlessly harmful real-world implications to permitting hate speech and conspiracy theories to proliferate on social media. It stated that exercise on Twitter may spawn violence, threaten public well being and undermine elections.

Spike in racial slurs

In a media name on Friday, members of the activist coalition stated Musk’s management transition coincided with a greater than 1,000% spike in racial slurs on Twitter.

“We are witnessing the real-time destruction of one of the world’s most powerful communications system,” stated Nicole Gill, co-founder of one other activist group, Accountable Tech.

Spending on promoting makes up 90% of Twitter’s income, giving advertisers leverage to demand that Musk defend the protection and viability of Twitter, the teams argue. 

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Elon Musk’s Twitter profile on November 4, 2022.

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Separately, researchers from Montclair State University discovered that the 12 hours instantly following Musk’s takeover of Twitter noticed a a lot more “hostile” environment on the platform. The crew checked out tweets crammed with “vulgar and hostile” rhetoric aimed toward folks based mostly on their race, faith, ethnicity and orientation, such as the “n-word,” “k-word,” and “f-word,” to discover out simply how unhealthy it acquired. They discovered an “immediate, visible, and measurable spike” in these phrases.

The NAACP additionally stated this week it has expressed to Musk its issues about “the dangerous, life-threatening hate and conspiracies that have proliferated on Twitter” below his watch.

Companies together with Audi, General Mills, GM, Mondelez and Pfizer have already paused their adverts on Twitter, and extra giant advertisers are anticipated to observe go well with. And IPG Mediabrands despatched a suggestion to shoppers on Monday that they pause promoting on Twitter for every week till extra readability emerges about model security on the location.

After a barrage of complaints over Musk’s buy of Twitter, the billionaire Tesla CEO not too long ago modified his profile on the platform to learn “Twitter Complaint Hotline Operator.” He listed his location as “Hell.”

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