Musk Hits Back At House Democrat Claiming Hateful Speech Is Rising On Twitter

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Twitter CEO Elon Musk fired back at Democratic California Rep. Adam Schiff’s claim that hateful speech has surged on Twitter since his takeover.

Schiff said “Elon Musk’s Twitter” has witnessed an uptick in offensive language against minority groups in a Thursday tweet. He cited findings from the non-profit organization, the Center for Countering Digital Hate, which found that the alleged “slurs” against black people tripled, while slurs against women, Jewish people and gay men rose.

“On Elon Musk’s Twitter: Slurs against Black people have tripled, slurs against women are up 33%, slurs against Jewish people are up 61%, and slurs against gay men are up 58%,” Schiff wrote. “These numbers are abysmal—and unacceptable. Today, @RepMarkTakano and I are demanding action.”

Musk disputed this claim by arguing that “hate speech impressions” decreased by one-third since his takeover in late October. He tagged Community Notes, a feature that adds notes in order to counter a possibly misleading tweet.

“False, hate speech impressions are actually down by 1/3 for Twitter now vs prior to acquisition,” Musk said.

Schiff and Democratic California Rep. Mark Takano wrote a letter to Musk asking what his company intends to do about the alleged rise in hateful speech. The representatives cited findings from Center for Countering Digital Hate and Anti-Defamation League to point to the alleged “slurs” and rhetoric.

“Although you tweeted that one of your goals as Chief Executive Officer of Twitter was strong content moderation on the platform, the results of your leadership have been the opposite,” the letter read. “Multiple reports have shown that since you became CEO in late October, hate speech has dramatically increased on Twitter. Under your leadership, there has been an extreme spike in the number of tweets that include slurs, the level of engagement with these tweets, and the popularity of spreading this harmful rhetoric.”

The Twitter CEO has vowed that hateful speech would be “max deboosted and demonetized” once he finalized his $44 billion deal to purchase the company. In a Nov. 23 tweet, Musk celebrated the reported drop in hateful speech by reporting that “hate speech impressions” dropped by one-third from “pre-spike levels” between October 20 and November 20, his first month of owning the social media company.

Community Notes determined that Schiff’s tweet presented “unverified claims as fact” and cited Musk’s report that levels dropped. (RELATED: Jean-Pierre Says White House Is ‘Keeping An Eye On’ Musk’s Twitter)

A report published by The New York Times, also citing the non-profits’ findings, detailed a rise in slurs against minority groups since Musk’s takeover. The report appeared to cast doubt on Musk’s argument that hate speech impressions have dropped, though it pointed out that a “relatively small” number of slurs are posted per day.

After The New York Times posted the report to its Twitter page, Musk called its findings are “utterly false.”

The White House has further expressed concerns with Musk’s takeover. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters told reporters Musk is attempting to distract the public from the alleged rise in hateful speech and misinformation on the site by pointing to the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story in 2020.

Musk took over the social media company with the goal of restoring free speech onto the platform, which he has repeatedly deemed to be the “bedrock of a functioning democracy.” He recently restored former President Donald Trump’s account after a survey found that the majority of users believed he should return.