Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

OPINION: Elon Musk, Twitter, X, and the rise of hate speech

Kloe Witt

Twitter’s rebranding to X is not just a poor visual update to the platform. It represents the app’s new identity as a safe haven for hateful content.

Twitter always had a unique identity as a place for short and (sometimes) sweet posts. People used the site for mostly news and memes. Though, the platform was never perfect. Many criticized it for a variety of reasons like the questionable moderation, the lack of transparency of the verification system, and many more.

One criticism that stood above the rest were the bans of many high profile figures. The most notable of these bans was the suspension of former president Donald Trump. This was for his role in inciting the insurrection on Jan. 6. Many questioned the precedent set by banning a U.S. president.

This and other bans (Andrew Tate, Jordan Peterson, etc.) led to a narrative that Twitter is biased against the right wing despite evidence of the contrary.

This narrative festered until Elon Musk made illusions to buy the platform with the promise of “free speech”. Musk eventually bought the platform which would change it for the worse.

After Elon Musk bought Twitter, hate speech sharply increased almost immediately. This comes from many sources including the Anti-Defamation League. This can be attributed to Musk’s position as a “free speech absolutist”.

Besides the fact that absolutism implies that the site would have no moderation (which it still does) this gives Musk the ability to excuse hate speech on the platform under the guise of “free speech”.

Musk will constantly deny the rampant increase of hateful content to the extent that he recently threatened a lawsuit against the ADL for defamation.

I have to disagree with Musk’s claim as I’ve constantly witnessed anti-Black and anti-LGBTQIA+ content being recommended to me. It will typically be a video of Black people commiting a crime or doing something heinous. These videos usually come with a caption like “Why are they like this?” or “why is this allowed?”

These posts don’t directly reveal their anti-Black sentiment but instead, let racist commenters connect the dots.

Anti-LGBTQIA+ content is much more blatant. The narrative of queer people being groomers and child abusers is very prevalent on the platform. This is particularly dire for transgender people as their rights are being stripped away with this exact rhetoric.

These changes are certainly not an accident. In a recent article with Musk, he revealed to the public that a major reason he bought Twitter was because he believed his trans daughter was infected by a “woke mind virus” claiming she’d gone “full communist.” This is very telling as the platform seemingly has an insistence on promoting far-right content.

Now we know that Musk’s acquisition and changing of Twitter to X is deeply political and propagandistic.

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About the Contributor
Kloe Witt
Kloe Witt, Managing Editor for Digital
Kloe Witt currently serves as The Maroon's Managing Editor for Digital. Kloe is a sophomore double majoring in journalism and environmental studies, though is interested in pursuing a career in media services for recreational therapy camps. In their free time, Kloe is usually watching Criminal Minds, listening to Taylor Swift, or reading new books. Kloe can be reached [email protected].

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