June 22, 2024

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Twitter was accused of intimidating anti-hate campaigners.

The owners of Twitter face accusations of attempting to silence “anti-hate campaigners” using threatening legal letters, as claimed by the “Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH).” X Corp., in response, accused CCDH of making troubling and baseless claims in their reports about the platform. Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter last year came with a promise to uphold free speech, and recently, the platform was rebranded as X under his ownership.

During the tenure of Musk, Twitter has been criticized, including by former employees, for not adequately countering hate speech and misinformation, although Musk previously tweeted that hate speech decreased by a third in December. This criticism followed the platform’s decision to reinstate Kanye West after an almost eight-month ban for a series of offensive tweets, one of which contained a controversial symbol.

In a letter to CCDH, X Corp. lawyer Alex Spiro refuted the campaign group’s allegations that Twitter failed to address 99% of hateful messages from accounts with Twitter Blue subscriptions. Spiro criticised the organisation’s methodology, considering it to be a mere compilation of inflammatory, misleading, and unsupported claims based on random tweets.

The letter from X Corp. accused CCDH of trying to drive away advertisers and revealed a substantial decline in advertising revenue since Musk’s £33.6 billion takeover in July, prompting the company to contemplate legal action. In response, CCDH’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, dismissed the letter’s baseless allegations, characterising them as a disturbing attempt to intimidate advocates against incitement, hate speech, and harmful online content.

Damian Collins, a British MP on the UK board of CCDH, questioned the consistency of Elon Musk’s commitment to free speech when faced with criticism of his company. Shadow Culture Secretary Lucy Powell MP praised CCDH’s vital work in combating online hate and exposing platforms that fail to counter disinformation and misinformation.

Following the company’s renaming, X Corp. replaced the old Twitter sign at its San Francisco headquarters with a new illuminated and flashing X. However, the company has been instructed to remove the new sign due to complaints.