Twitter has been overwhelmingly not removing hate speech posted on the platform from verified Twitter Blue accounts, according to a report from a nonprofit that opposes the spread of hate and disinformation online.
The Center for Countering Digital Hate said Thursday its researchers collected tweets promoting hatred from 100 Twitter Blue accounts and reported them to Twitter’s platform for flagging hateful posts. But it said the platform did not act on 99 percent of the tweets flagged and all of the accounts remained active four days later.
The posts the organization flagged make racist, antisemitic, homophobic or transphobic remarks. The report also notes one references violence against LGBTQ rights supporters.
“Twitter failed to act despite the fact that the tweets surfaced by the Center clearly violate the platform’s policies against hateful conduct, which bans abuse on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity,” the report states.
The group states that its previous studies have found Twitter has failed to act on 89 percent of antisemitic posts and 97 percent of anti-Muslim posts.
Twitter CEO Elon Musk phased out the platform’s old system of verified accounts in which public figures could have their accounts verified to separate themselves from potential imposters. In its place, he unveiled the Twitter Blue system in which any user can receive verification for $8 per month.
Imran Ahmed, the chief executive of the organization, said Musk is reversing the progress that has been made toward tolerance at an “ever-accelerating rate.”
“The Twitter blue tick used to be a sign of authority and authenticity, but it is now inextricably linked to the promotion of hate and conspiracism,” he said. “What gives blue tick hate actors confidence to spew their bile is the knowledge that Elon Musk simply doesn’t care about the civil and human rights of black people, Jews, Muslims and LGBTQ+ people, as long as he can make his 8 bucks a month.”
Musk said in November that tweets spreading hate would be “deboosted & demonetized” to limit their reach, but the report argues Twitter is allowing its algorithm that promotes Twitter Blue accounts to spread the hate speech that is not being taken down.
The report states tweets from Twitter Blue users in the sample were often given priority in threads, and in one instance, the top reply from a verified account was from a user calling for violence against migrants.
The Hill has reached out to Twitter for comment.