In the hours after self proclaimed ‘free speech absolutist’ Elon Musk completed his $44 billion purchase of Twitter, the use of racial slurs surged on the platform as anonymous trolls test the app’s content moderation policies, according to the Washington Post.
The Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI), a research group that analyzes social media content, said within the first 12 hours of Musk’s deal being finalized, the use of the n-word increased by nearly 500% on Twitter.
“Elon now controls twitter. Unleash the racial slurs. K—S AND N—–S,” said one account, using slurs for Jews and Black people, according to The Post.
“I can freely express how much I hate n—–s … now, thank you elon,” another said, per The Post.
Misogynistic and anti-LGBTQ posts also flooded Twitter after Musk’s purchase. There was a surge in posts calling for the deadnaming of prominent transgender people and the use of terms, like “groomer” to insinuate that members of the LGBTQ community recruit children.
Alex Goldenberg, NCRI’s lead intelligence analyst, told the Post that some of these messages were organized on prominent right wing platforms such as 4chan and are intended “to make as big a mess as possible for Twitter’s new management.”
“Online trolls regularly test the limits of moderation,” Goldenberg said. Rather than a “paradigm change” at the company, he said, the spike could show that these groups “are seeking to give Elon Musk all he can handle.”
Several of the posts are still up on the platform.
Musk tweeted on Friday that he will form a new “content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints.” He added that any decisions on moderation won’t be made until the council meets.