LGBTQ organizations report recent spike in Twitter hatred • Zoo House News
- February 11, 2023
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Twitter is still in the early days of its Elon Musk era, but the company’s new owner hasn’t hesitated to make his mark on the social network.
Already prominent LGBTQ accounts are noticing a difference on the platform under Musk’s leadership, according to a new poll by GLAAD, Amnesty International and the Human Rights Campaign.
Of 11 LGBGT organizations surveyed, five said they experienced more abuse and hate speech after Musk took over in late October. Neither group saw a decrease in targeted hatred over the same period.
When asked if their organization had seen a similar increase in hate on other social networks, 90% of respondents said the increase in harassment was limited to Twitter. All organizations reported hate speech and harassment on Twitter, be it before or after Musk.
The survey, which focused on accounts with more than 10,000 followers, is far from comprehensive, but it was designed to provide a “snapshot” of the social media landscape in the first few months after the $44 billion acquisition of to capture Musk. After buying Twitter, Musk quickly reversed many of the company’s content moderation decisions, including some high-profile cases that set an ominous precedent for the platform’s many LGBTQ users.
In November, Twitter reinstated right-wing academics Jordan Peterson and The Babylon Bee, two accounts originally suspended for transphobic tweets about transgender actor Elliot Page and US health official Rachel Levine, respectively. Musk had previously called Peterson’s offense “minor and dubious,” signaling his interest in reversing LGBTQ-related bans.
A GLAAD and Media Matters report released in December tracked a handful of popular right-wing Twitter accounts and found a post-Musk spike in their use of the word “groomer” — an increasingly common slur that labels queer people pedophiles. Before Musk relaxed the platform’s hate rules, Twitter classified the term as a prohibited anti-LGBTQ slur.
In December, Musk himself made the unfounded suggestion that Yoel Roth, the respected former head of Twitter’s Trust and Safety, was a pedophile, sparking a firestorm of anti-LGBTQ harassment that eventually sent the gay former Twitter exec out of his Bay Area drifted home.
“…This lie led directly to a wave of homophobic and anti-Semitic threats that Twitter has done infinitesimally little to remove… [and] I ended up having to leave my house and sell it,” Roth told Congress earlier this week.
“These are the consequences of this type of online harassment and expression.”