Sunday, April 14, 2024

Israel-Gaza crisis: Musk’s X fails to remove 98% of hate posts

Elon Musk-run X has failed to remove 98 per cent of posts which promoted antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian hate, or other hate speech, a new report has revealed.

X (previously Twitter) continues to host the overwhelming majority of a sample of posts that breach platform rules for promoting antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-Palestinian hate and other hateful rhetoric in the wake of the Israel-Gaza crisis, the Center for Countering Digital Hate found.

The report, published late on Tuesday, comes amid several warnings of a rise in hate speech and misinformation on X and other platforms following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Imran Ahmed, CEO and founder of the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), said that X has sought to reassure advertisers and the public that they have a handle on hate speech, “but our research indicates that these are nothing but empty words.”

Researchers collected a total of 200 hateful posts that were published after Hamas’ attacks on Israel on October 7 — all of which either directly addressed the ongoing conflict, or appeared to be informed by it.

The posts were collected from a total of 101 separate X accounts.

The posts were reported to X moderators for breaching platform rules via the official reporting tools on October 31.

The sample of posts were subsequently reviewed on November 7 to audit the action taken.

Despite having a full week to process the reports, researchers found that X continued to host 98 per cent (196) of the 200 posts.

In total, the posts that remained up have accrued 24,043,693 views.

Out of the 101 accounts in the study, only one was suspended and a further two “locked”.

Nearly 43 of the 101 accounts in the sample are verified accounts, which means they benefit from algorithmic boosts to the visibility of their posts.

“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 Musk’s platform,” said Ahmed.

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