US Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Mark Takano (D-CA) Tuesday urged Twitter CEO Elon Musk to address the rise in hate speech on the social media platform since he purchased it in October 2022.
Schiff and Takano originally urged Musk to investigate the increased hate speech in December, at which point they reported a 61.3 percent increase in antisemitic sentiments. They also reported an increase in anti-LGBTQ+ speech in the two months since Musk took over the app. According to the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), antisemitic speech on Twitter has now increased by 106 percent since Musk’s purchase of the platform, and anti-LGBTQ+ speech has increased by 119 percent.
Schiff and Takano emphasized the impressions that just one Tweet containing hate speech can make on Twitter. According to the letter, ten accounts geared toward hate speech have garnered 2.5 million impressions since December. The congressmen argued that Twitter is not adequately or consistently acting to decrease hate speech, despite Musk’s public condemnation of it. They requested that Musk identify his plan to mitigate hate speech despite his drastic reduction of Twitter’s staff, especially employees whose roles contributed to diminishing hate speech.
The representatives also asked Musk to outline Twitter’s plan to increase user safety, specifically for the LGBTQ+ and Jewish communities.
Musk also faced criticism regarding the suspension of journalists on Twitter in December 2022, including VOA Chief National Correspondent and JURIST Journalist in Residence Steve Herman. Herman’s suspension was upheld until February of this year. The suspensions raised concerns over the human right to freely impart and receive information.