Celebrities have been making a mass exodus from Twitter after Elon Musk bought the social media platform. The $44 billion deal went through earlier this month after Twitter filed a lawsuit against him for renegging on his vow to purchase it. However, now that the sale has gone through, many are wondering if it’s the beginning of the end.
Evidence suggests that bad actors are trying to test the limits on @Twitter. Several posts on 4chan encourage users to amplify derogatory slurs.
For example, over the last 12 hours, the use of the n-word has increased nearly 500% from the previous average. pic.twitter.com/mEqziaWuMF
— Network Contagion Research Institute (@ncri_io) October 28, 2022
Why did Elon Musk buy Twitter?
Musk’s initial interest in acquiring the social media network was down to his belief in unrestrained free speech. As per the New York Times, Musk hoped that after he bought Twitter and turned it into a private company, people would feel more empowered to speak their minds — even if what they have to say is offensive or even outright hateful.
It didn’t take long for many users to test the limits of the Tesla CEO’s commitment to the First Amendment, The Network Contagion Research Institute revealed on Friday that use of the N-word on the platform had gone up by almost 500% compared to before Musk’s ownership. Meanwhile, Twitter’s head of safety and integrity tweeted that “a small number” of accounts had begun spamming the site with “slurs and other derogatory terms” which were liked and retweeted by hundreds and sometimes thousands of people. Roth claimed they were making an “organized effort” to stop this kind of content. Now that Elon Musk has bought Twitter, many worry Roth and his team are fighting a losing battle.
Let’s talk for a minute about slurs, hateful conduct, and trolling campaigns.
Bottom line up front: Twitter’s policies haven’t changed. Hateful conduct has no place here. And we’re taking steps to put a stop to an organized effort to make people think we have.
— Yoel Roth (@yoyoel) October 30, 2022
Celebrities and “regular” users have already had enough.
Given the proliferation of hate speech that came in the first few days of Twitter’s new ownership, many have abandoned ship. The belief that things will only get worse and that there will be even fewer repercussions for trolls and bullies was enough to push people away.
“Grey’s Anatomy” showrunner Shonda Rhimes was one of the biggest names to announce she was ditching Twitter, writing: “Not hanging around for whatever Elon has planned. Bye.” Meanwhile, “Thirtystomething” actor Ken Olin also said he was “out of here,” adding: “Let’s keep the faith. Let’s protect our democracy. Let’s try to be kinder. Let’s try to save the planet. Let’s try to be more generous. Let’s look to find peace in the world.”
Other celebs soon followed, including “Bill and Ted” actor Alex Winter. Even “Modern Family” star Josh Gad is considering ditching his account. He wrote: “Large exodus happening on this platform. Not sure if I stay or not. Leaning toward staying, but if today is a sign of things to come, not sure what the point is. Freedom of speech is great. Hate speech intended to incite harm, (with no consequences) ain’t what I signed up for.”
Not hanging around for whatever Elon has planned. Bye.
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) October 29, 2022
Chances are, more will follow soon.