Twitter owner Elon Musk threatened to sue the Center for Countering Digital Hate for making “a series of troubling and baseless claims that appear calculated to harm Twitter generally, and its digital advertising business,” according to a letter Musk sent on July 20. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/ UPI | License Photo
Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The platform formerly known as Twitter violated its moderation policies after leaving up extreme content that was first reported to the social media giant two weeks ago, according to a digital watchdog that monitors hate speech, misinformation and other harmful content.
The Center for Countering Digital Hate issued the report Wednesday showing X Corp. had failed to address about 86% of the 300 incendiary posts that were flagged earlier this month for promoting hate and extolling White supremacy, neo-Nazism, antisemitism, and racism against Black people.
The report comes after Twitter owner Elon Musk threatened to sue the nonprofit for making "a series of troubling and baseless claims that appear calculated to harm Twitter generally, and its digital advertising business," according to a letter Musk sent on July 20.
On its website, the whistleblower agency accused Musk of trying to "silence our work exposing hate and disinformation on Twitter," adding that "platforms and their owners must be held accountable for enabling the spread of hate and misinformation."
In August, several Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to Twitter's front office demanding an explanation for its efforts to thwart independent research into the harms of social media.
U.S. Reps. Lori Trahan, D-Mass., Sean Casten, D-Ill., and Adam Schiff, D-Calif., asked if X had successfully lowered the number of terms of service violations on the platform, including hate speech and extremism.
"After Mr. Musk purchased X on Oct. 27, 2022, some of his first actions were to lay off trust and safety workers, dissolve the Trust and Safety Council and restore banned accounts of misogynists and Neo-Nazis," the lawmakers wrote. "Unsurprisingly, this has coincided with a documented rise in hate speech and extremism on X."
During the CCDH analysis, researchers collected the sampling of 300 hate-filled posts that appeared on 100 accounts between Aug. 30 and 31.
Moderators at X were immediately notified through the platform's official reporting tools, but as of Sept. 7 only 41 of the 300 posts had been removed from the site, while 90 of the accounts from the sample remained active, the report claims.
The platform allowed ads for trusted brands like Apple and Disney to run alongside the vitriol, the report claims before calling out X CEO Linda Yaccarino, who had vowed to boost "brand safety and content moderation tools that have never existed before at this company" when she took the helm from Musk this past summer.
The company's current policies are designed to prohibit hateful conduct on the platform, including incitement and harassment of others through racial discrimination, while barring slurs, dehumanization, hateful imagery and threats of violence.
The agency again called on Congress to regulate the social media industry.
"Twitter/X is enabling dangerous content that could lead to real-life violence," the report said. "The longer Congress delays social media regulation, the longer people's safety will be in the hands of greedy and unreliable billionaires."