Elon Musk’s grand promises of restoring Twitter’s commitment to free speech have come under fire as an Australian watchdog uncovered a disturbing surge of online hate on the platform.
What Happened: Since Musk acquired Twitter and pledged to prioritize free speech, the microblogging platform has repeatedly found itself at the epicenter of controversies.
Now, the eSafety Commissioner in Australia has demanded that Twitter explain its handling of online hate, as it has become the country’s most complained-about platform since the tech billionaire lifted bans on a reported 62,000 accounts, according to Reuters.
The regulator’s demand for transparency stems from concerns about the increase in online child abuse material and the reinstatement of banned accounts, including those associated with individuals promoting Nazi rhetoric.
Twitter has been given 28 days to respond to the legal notice or face hefty fines of nearly $473,480 daily, highlighting the need for accountability and user protection in the face of rampant hate speech, the report noted.
“We need accountability from these platforms and action to protect their users, and you cannot have accountability without transparency and that’s what legal notices like this one are designed to achieve,” said Commissioner Julie Inman Grant.
Why It’s Important: In April this year, Musk got into a heated argument with a BBC reporter about the rise of hate speech on the platform. The site under Musk’s leadership has been criticized, even though he previously stated that “hate speech impressions” have gone down on the platform.
In October 2022, it was reported that the use of the N-word on the microblogging site increased by approximately 500% compared to the previous average.
Musk ignited another controversy on Wednesday by intensifying his stance against transgender issues. His statement that “cis” or “cisgender” are considered slurs on the platform fueled the ongoing debate surrounding the tech billionaire’s position and his handling of sensitive topics on Twitter.
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