February 3, 2023

Opinion: Elon Musk’s Twitter is helping to normalize a neo-Nazi

4 min read

Editor’s note: Dan Obeidallah, a former attorney, is the host of SiriusXM Radio’s daily program “The Dan Obeidallah Show.” Follow him @DeanObeidallah. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. See More feedback On CNN


Elon Musk is apparently trying his hand at creating a big media story. release which he called “Twitter files.which includes internal Twitter documents from October 2020 that show executives at the social media company debating whether posting on the platform of a New York Post article about a laptop allegedly owned by Hunter Biden. Be allowed.

Dean Obaidullah

As CNN reported, Musk’s release on Friday pointed to tweets from journalist Matt Tybee, who was “provided with emails that largely confirmed what was already known about the incident.”

But the Twitter story that demands coverage isn’t about what happened more than two years ago, but what we’re seeing now on Twitter since Musk took control in October. There has been an “unprecedented” increase in hate speech, as well as the resurgence of ISIS-linked accounts. The New York Times reported in detail In an article published Friday, citing findings from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, Anti-Defamation League and other groups studying online platforms.

Also, Twitter only restored An account of self-creation Andrew Anglin, the white supremacist. Neo-Nazi website founder The Daily Stormer. Anglin, who was Banned on Twitter in 2013 has called for Berlin’s Holocaust memorial (which he contemptuously calls a “scam”) to be torn down and replaced with a “1,000-foot-tall statue of Hitler.”

I have first-hand experience with resurgent neo-Nazis on Twitter. Anglin targeted me 2017 in response On an article I wrote criticizing it at the time. Then-President Donald Trump For refusing to condemn the violence of white supremacy. (This was months before the August 2017 white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.)

Anglin first posted fabricated tweets on his white supremacist website that appeared to be written by me claiming responsibility for an ISIS terrorist attack. (I am a Muslim.) He then instructed his followers to “oppose me.” Given that Daily Stormer readers have committed acts of violence in the past – including apparently Dylann Roof, Those who killed nine black people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina in 2015 — did what Anglin said.

I was soon inundated with death threats. However, if Anglin thought I was going to cower, he was wrong. I sued him in federal court for defamation and emotional distress, where I won a default judgment. $4.1 million. While I haven’t made a dime yet, I’ve long since committed to donating all proceeds to organizations that fight against the type of hate England has.

I’m not alone. England has it. Targeted harassment Other minorities, including African-American student Taylor Dempson who Successfully prosecuted Anglinand Tanya Gersh, a Jewish real estate agent who also sued Anglin, resulting in a $14 million verdict.

In fact, the person who was reinstated on Twitter. Arrest warrant Gersh’s lawsuit was issued against him by a federal judge just last month for refusing to comply with court orders to recover those damages.

Worryingly, Anglin’s dangerous influence continues. gave The white gunman who killed black people in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, in a racist attack in May; Allegedly cited of England The Daily Stormer Named in a manifesto, he credits this as formulating his view that white people were being “replaced” by people of color.

Reinstating Anglin on Twitter not only helps normalize a neo-Nazi, it also helps him recruit followers. one of Anglin’s first tweets Friday said: “Trying to find my friends. I lost them in 2013.

But Anglin isn’t the only problem. As described in a bone-chilling New York Times article, recent data from groups studying online platforms have documented this hate speech. has exploded On Twitter in the first two weeks since Musk took office. Overall, the Times reported that the researchers noted that “they have never seen such a rapid increase in hate speech, problematic content and previously banned accounts on a mainstream social media platform in such a short period of time.”

According to the article, some of the most troubling statistics include that anti-black Americans have tripled to 3,876 per day, anti-Semitic posts have increased by more than 60 percent and slurs against gay men. It has grown from 2,506 per day to almost 4,000 comments per day. .

As Imran Ahmed, founder and CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, told the Times: “Elon Musk sent a beat signal to all kinds of racists, misogynists and homophobes that Twitter was open for business,” he added, “and they’ve responded accordingly.” (Musk has denied that hate speech has increased on Twitter since he took office. Without providing specifics, Musk tweeted. On November 23rd, “Hate speech impressions fell by 1/3 from pre-spike levels.” Responding to the Times report on Friday, Musk simply said, “A complete lie.Twitter Did not immediately respond (CNN responded to a request for comment Friday morning.)

Although a counterintuitive approach may seem, Musk Kanye West’s Twitter account suspended. Last week when he said the West had violated our principle against incitement to violence. CNN could not confirm what specifically prompted the suspension. But West, who has made a number of anti-Semitic comments, tweeted an altered image of the Star of David with a swastika inside.

In addition to hate speech, the New York Times also reported a 69 percent increase in accounts linked to the terrorist group ISIS in the first 12 days after Musk took control, citing the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.

Being on Twitter is a privilege, not a right. Musk has escalated this privilege from worst to worst. Now is the time for advertisers to decide if they want to be associated with this type of social media platform. Hopefully, Americans will refuse to spend their dollars on companies that support Musk’s Twitter.

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