April 27, 2023
New research from UC Merced CIS Professor Paul Smaldino — along with collaborators at USC, UCLA, and Oregon State University — analyzed Twitter content in the months before and after Elon Musk's takeover on October 27, 2022. Two of Musk's stated goals were to have less restrictive content moderation and to remove spam bots. The findings of this new research, which employed several computational techniques to characterize changes to Twitter following the change of leadership, can be summarized as follows.
- Hateful users have become more hateful. In other words, users who previously tweeted hateful content now did so at higher rates.
- Hate has increased overall. In other words, there was now a high frequency of tweets posted with hateful content.
- There has been no meaningful change in the quantity of bots. This is despite Musk's claims to the contrary.