A new report details how the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, has failed to address bigoted posts toward a number of groups — including posts targeting Palestinians, Jews and Muslims — since the start of October.
The report, compiled by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) and published on Tuesday, examined 200 hateful posts on the site that promoted antisemitic conspiracy theories (including the promotion of Adolf Hitler as a political leader, denial of the holocaust and more), glorified violence against those who are Muslim, and dehumanized Palestinians (including posts comparing them to “animals” and denying their existence outright).
According to X’s policies listed on the site itself, users are restricted from “directly attack[ing] other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.” The site claims it is “combating abuse motivated by hatred, prejudice or intolerance,” and states that it “prohibit[s] behavior that targets individuals or groups with abuse based on their perceived membership in a protected category,” and encourages people to report such posts.
CCDH decided to examine this policy firsthand, and flagged the 200 posts it identified as clearly being antisemitic, Islamophobic and anti-Palestinian, in the wake of an attack from Hamas that killed over 1,400 Israelis and the Israeli government’s retaliatory campaign that has killed over 11,000 Palestinians so far. It followed up on those posts one week later, to see if any action had been taken on them.
According to the report, 98 percent of the posts were still available to access, meaning that only four of the posts out of the 200 reported were taken down.
“Our ‘mystery shopper’ test of X’s content moderation systems — to see whether they have the capacity or will to take down 200 instances of clear, unambiguous hate speech — reveals that hate actors appear to have free rein to post viciously antisemitic and hateful rhetoric on Elon Musk’s platform,” Imran Ahmed, the chief executive of the CCDH, said to The Daily Mail regarding his organization’s findings.
X has in the past denied the findings of similar reports from CCDH, and filed a lawsuit against the group this past summer. Claiming “continued progress” on the platform when it comes to countering hate, X said in its lawsuit that CCDH “and its backers have been actively working to assert false and misleading claims encouraging advertisers to pause investment on the platform.”
The assertions from X are clearly wrong, Ahmed suggested in comments to The Daily Beast, noting that Elon Musk, when he initially purchased the site, promised an improvement from what had previously existed on Twitter but that, instead, things have worsened since he took ownership of the platform.
“Musk has allowed X to descend into precisely what he promised it wouldn’t [descend] into, which is a hell-scape of hate and disinformation,” Ahmed said. “What’s online leads to real-world harm.”
We need your help to propel Truthout into the new year
As we look toward the new year, we’re well aware of the obstacles that lie in the path to justice. But here at Truthout, we are encouraged and emboldened by the courage of people worldwide working to move us all forward — people like you.
If you haven’t yet made your end-of-year donation to support our work, this is the perfect moment to do so: Our year-end fundraising drive is happening now, and we must raise $150,000 by the end of December.
Will you stand up for truly independent, honest journalism by making a contribution in the amount that’s right for you? It only takes a few seconds to donate by card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, or Venmo — we even accept donations of cryptocurrency and stock! Just click the red button below.