Antisemitic posts have increased dramatically since Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, according to a new study.
The study, conducted by the nonpartisan think tank Institute for Strategic Dialogue, used machine learning tools to identify “likely” antisemitic tweets on the platform. According to the data, posts that were antisemitic surged from an average of 6,200 per week before Mr. Musk became CEO in October to an average of 12,700 per week in the months after.
Researchers used the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism to guide its machine-learning tools through the process. Tweets that dehumanize Jews, make stereotypical comments about Jews and tweets that call for the killing or harming of Jews are examples of antisemitic tweets flagged in the study. Researchers manually reviewed a small subset of tweets and found that their machine-learning algorithms had an accuracy of 76%.
The surge in antisemitic posts was buoyed by a rise in the creation of antisemitic accounts. Researchers noted that in the immediate aftermath of Mr. Musk taking control of Twitter, they found a three-fold increase in “hateful account creation.”
After Mr. Musk took over the company, he reinstated the accounts of some figures who promoted antisemitic conspiracy theories. Noted White nationalist Nick Fuentes had his Twitter account restored in January and was quickly banned again after making antisemitic comments on the platform.
Mr. Musk fought back against allegations that hateful content has increased under his leadership. In December he posted a graph showing that “hate speech impressions” were on the decline. He also plans to “max deboost” hate accounts by limiting the amount of engagement with those accounts.
Milo Comerford, who is responsible for research on counter-extremism for ISD, said the engagement with antisemitic content on Twitter is still high.
• Vaughn Cockayne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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