Twitter flooded with slurs and derogatory terms after Musk takeover

Shortly following the Elon Musk takeover of Twitter, a large number of tweets containing slurs and other derogatory terms have flooded the platform, according to the company’s head of safety and integrity Yoel Roth.

“To give you a sense of scale: More than 50,000 Tweets repeatedly using a particular slur came from just 300 accounts,” said Roth in a Twitter thread about the social media company’s policies regarding slurs, hateful conduct and trolling campaigns. Roth went on to say that nearly all the accounts engaging in such behaviour are “inauthentic.”

When Musk completed his takeover of the company, one of his first actions was to fire four top executives, including Vijay Gadde, head of Twitter’s legal, policy, trust and safety. On Friday, October 28, a day after he completed the takeover, Musk said, “Twitter will be forming a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints,” in a tweet. According to him, no major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen without intervention from this council.

Musk on Saturday clarified that he has not yet made any changes to Twitter’s content moderation policy.

“Our Rules prohibit Hateful Conduct. This includes targeting people with dehumanizing content and slurs. This doesn’t mean we have a list of words that are always banned. Context matters. For example, our policies are written to protect reclaimed speech,” added Roth in his Twitter thread.

Reclaimed speech is a linguistic term that refers to when words and phrases used to disparage certain communities are “reclaimed” by those communities through cultural processes. For example, the word “queer” was used to disparage the LGBTQIA+ community for ages but has now been reclaimed and is used as a term of pride.

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