In ongoing controversies surrounding billionaire Elon Musk’s ownership of Twitter, the popular microblogging site faces another accusation.
The Guardian published an article claiming that Twitter has been unable to effectively combat hate speech on its platform, despite its massive user base of approximately 396.5 million worldwide.
However, Twitter has swiftly dismissed these allegations as “extremely misleading.”
According to The Guardian’s report, Twitter is now under scrutiny and potentially facing legal action for its alleged failure to remove a series of hateful tweets reported by users. Specifically, the focus of concern revolves around the platform’s handling of antisemitism and racism.
The European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) and HateAid, a German organization advocating for human rights in the digital sphere, brought attention to this matter.
The article highlights several antisemitic and racist tweets reported in January of this year. Still, Twitter did not take action to remove them, going against its moderation policy.
The Guardian notes that four reported tweets explicitly denied the Holocaust, while another tweet expressed the sentiment that “blacks should be gassed and sent with SpaceX to Mars.” Additionally, a sixth tweet compared Covid vaccination programs and mass extermination in Nazi death camps.
The Guardian’s coverage quotes legal action, claiming that Twitter’s response deemed these tweets not violating its guidelines. Twitter, however, has countered these assertions. The tech giant stated that the lawsuit, which the Guardian referred to as a “landmark,” actually involves only six tweets, all of which were addressed by the platform.
Twitter explains that its systems automatically detected the toxic and abusive nature of these tweets, which were promptly flagged by its terms of service.
In a tweet, Twitter clarified that it swiftly restricted the reach of all six tweets, with each tweet garnering fewer than 100 impressions.
Furthermore, the platform emphasized that any individual under the German legal compliance option reported none of these tweets. Subsequently, following the lawsuit’s filing, four tweets were blocked in Germany, and two were removed due to violations of Twitter’s terms of service.
Twitter also took the opportunity to criticize The Guardian for citing two allegedly misleading “reports.” The first report claims that anti-Semitic slurs on Twitter have increased since Musk acquired the platform.
Twitter asserts that this claim is untrue, citing a decline in user impressions of anti-Semitic slurs both overall and on a per-tweet basis since the acquisition.
The second report mentioned by Twitter alleges that the platform failed to take action on 99% of hateful content posted by Twitter Blue subscribers. Twitter vehemently denies this, stating that moderation decisions are made independently of a user’s Twitter Blue status.
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