Home / Tech / A study finds that X rewards hate speech that targets the Israel-Gaza war, and Elon Musk is accused of making money off of tragedy

A study finds that X rewards hate speech that targets the Israel-Gaza war, and Elon Musk is accused of making money off of tragedy

The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), an anti-hate research group that beat Elon Musk’s court case to try to shut it down, is back with new research into Musk’s social media platform X (formerly Twitter). The study adds to previous research that looked at Musk’s effect on online speech by focusing on how the policy changes he made are actively rewarding hate speech posters with more views, more interactions, and even direct payments through X’s subscriber feature.

The newest study from CCDH is a case study that looks at the growth rates of ten influential accounts that pay for X Premium and have posted hate speech against Jews and/or Muslims since October 7, 2023, when Hamas attacked Israel. The report says that some of the accounts switched from posting COVID-19-related conspiracy theories to posting hate speech about war.

The study, called “Hate Pays: How X Accounts are Exploiting the Israel-Gaza Conflict to Grow and Profit,” looked at ten accounts. They are: Nick Hinkle; Censored Men; Jake Shields; Dr. Eli David; Radio Genoa; Ryan Dawson; Keith Woods; Way of the World; and Sam Parker.

The CCDH discovered that these accounts were able to gain more followers on X after posting hateful remarks about the war. The report talks about examples of hate speech that the accounts posted, like tweets that used antisemitic tropes like “blood libel” or tried to dehumanize Palestinians by drawing them as rats.

“In the four months before October 7th, each account slowly gained new followers, adding a total of about 1 million new followers.” However, they gained 4 million new followers in the four months after the conflict started, according to the CCDH. This is almost four times as much growth as in the four months before the conflict.

During that time, different accounts gained new followers at different rates. With a growth rate of 9.6, Dawson’s account outperformed Hinkle’s (8.3) and Parker’s (7.1). Way of the World, on the other hand, gained 1.7 times as many followers during that time.

The report includes a skewed history of the accounts that were tracked’s bad reputation. For instance, it claims that PayPal, YouTube, and WhatsApp are blocking Hinkle. Or the fact that the Censored Men (anonymous) account used to mostly post defenses of Andrew Tate, an influencer on toxic masculinity, but since October 7, it’s been focusing on the conflict between Israel and Gaza. Dawson, who doesn’t believe in the Holocaust and thinks Israel was behind the 9/11 attacks, was banned from X in the past but had his account reinstated in 2023 by Musk.

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