Under Elon Musk’s watch, X, formerly Twitter, has exploded with racism, LGBTQ hatred, and conspiracies. Unsurprisingly, advertisers have fled and don’t want to return.
What’s Musk’s solution? Sue the handful of people who are fighting to bring transparency to the platform.
Our friends at the Center for Countering Digital Hate are currently fielding a bogus legal attack from Musk, who claims they’ve “engaged in a series of unlawful acts designed to improperly gain access to protected X Corp. data.”
They, of course, didn’t do that. But what they have done is spend months showing how X is becoming more filled with extremist content and more dangerous to advertisers.
In December, they revealed the number of slurs rose sharply under Musk’s leadership. In March, they explained how Twitter made millions while anti-LGBTQ rhetoric rose 119%. And in June, they discovered that X failed to act on 99% of Blue accounts tweeting hate.
That last point is particularly notable. Blue accounts pay about $10 a month for features like editing tweets, posting longer videos and having a blue check by their name. But that’s not all. Blue users who meet certain requirements also get a share in advertising revenue based on tweet engagement.
You can immediately see the problem with this. Few things get engagement like hate and misinformation. In fact, the first few people Musk gave thousands of dollars to were insurrectionist Tim Pool, the formerly banned Krassenstein brothers, and misogynist and alleged human trafficker Andrew Tate.
And the requirements to become part of X’s ad revenue sharing are so lax that an account that gained thousands of followers after posting child sexual abuse materials – and was personally unbanned by Musk – could receive a cut of money from advertisers.
Advertisers should know where their money is going and who is being supported by those dollars. Thanks to the work CCDH is doing, they’re getting a good look at just how toxic Twitter has become. It’s not a pretty picture.
Musk may try to silence them, but he will never stop their — and our — transparency work.
Claire & Nandini