X (Twitter) Failed to Take Action on 86% of Hate Speech Posts, Researchers Say

X (Twitter) Failed to Take Action on 86% of Hate Speech Posts, Researchers Say

A research group X previously sued for allegedly publishing “false” information about the company, released a new report slamming the social network for its refusal to remove hate speech. The new report, released Wednesday by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) claims X (née Twitter) failed to take action against 86% of posts CCDH found containing hate speech. Many of the posts, still on the platform at the time of writing, denied the Holocaust, glorified Nazis, and spoke endearingly of white supremacy.

The researchers collected 300 posts from 100 accounts that had been reported by Twitter users for hate speech violations on August 30, and 31. Those posts were independently reviewed by two researchers who confirmed they contained a variety of violating content, such as the promotion of anti-semitism, white supremacy, and anti-Black hatred. One week later, the researchers say 259 of those 300 violating posts remained on the platform despite showing clear signs of violating the company’s hateful conduct policies. 90 out of the 100 accounts remain active at the time of the report’s release.

Many of these posts, which Gizmodo independently reviewed, weren’t borderline or confusing cases. One of the violating posts labeled Hitler as a “hero” for white children while another encouraged users to “stop race mixing.” Another post showed a black and white photo of a family enjoying a picnic with the caption “Just admit it, white America was better.”

“X [Twitter] continued to host these posts even after they were reported, despite them clearly violating the platform’s policies against hateful content, which prohibit racist slurs, dehumanization, and hateful imagery such as the Nazi swastika,” the CCDH researchers said.

 

Twitter tried to get ahead of the report on Tuesday evening, by releasing a statement taking issue with the company’s “purported findings.” In a tweet, Twitter claimed it had in fact taken enforcement actions against the example posts shared with it by the CCDH. Twitter also accused CCDH of misrepresenting the total number of users who may have been exposed to the content. The CCDH claims the 100 accounts it identified have a combined 1,060,106 followers.

“By not using impression data, the CCDH is misleading the public and making unsubstantiated assertions about the user activity on X,” Twitter said in a statement. The CCDH did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment. Twitter says it will take further action against posts or accounts as needed after it reviews the CCDH’s full report.

Twitter CEO Elon Musk responded to his own company’s official statement with a tweet reading “CCDH is a bronze tier psy ops.”

Researchers say 140 of the posts they identified either promoted anti-semitism or referenced the anti-semitic trope that shadowy Jewish people run world organizations. The platform continued to host 85% of those anti-semitic posts despite Musk recently saying he’s “against anti-Semitism of any kind.” Musk recently threatened to sue the Anti-Defamation League, an antisemitism watchdog, for defamation “almost” killing Twitter.

 

Rather than immediately remove these posts, the CCDH says Twitter reviewed their findings and moved to “lock” three accounts reported as part of the study. Twitter said they would unblock those accounts if the account holders agreed to remove the violating content. However, in the interim, CCDH notes, the actual violating content remains on the platform for all to see.

“X’s number one priority remains: to keep our users safe and our platform healthy,” the company said in its statement. “Our doors are always open to organizations who want to work with us to strengthen our policies and improve our approach. And when the full report is released tomorrow, we will review it and we will take action as needed.”

 


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