Under Elon Musk’s leadership of Twitter, tweets linking LGBTQ people to “grooming” have skyrocketed.
Over the last three years, far-right commentators and anti-LGBTQ activists have amplified the term “grooming” narrative, which falsely suggests LGBTQ people are pedophiles.
The “grooming” narrative has become a right-wing touchstone, animating campaigns to ban LGBTQ books from libraries, pass anti-trans legislation aimed at minors, and protest drag shows.
According to the Center For Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) they’ve jumping 119% since Musk’s takeover in October 2022 (seems like a decade already…)
The study says that Twitter is making millions from big-name advertisers, whose brands appear alongside hateful anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.
Callum Hood, a researcher who helped write the new study says,
Tolerance of this content is part of Elon Musk’s business model.
There is real world stuff happening now that appears to be a result of this rhetoric online.”
The study examined five high-profile Twitter accounts responsible for consistently linking LGBT to “grooming
- Libs Of TikTok, the account run by Chaya Raichik
- Gays Against Groomers, run by Jaimee Michell
- Rright-wing commentator Christhoper Rufo
- YouTuber Tim Pool
- James Lindsay, known for the catch-phrase, “Ok, Groomer”
Over the past year, the LGBTQ+ community has been targeted by a wave of abuse centered on the false and hateful lie that they ‘groom’ children, often directed at teachers, Pride events and drag story hour events. pic.twitter.com/d5U9XyUVv0— Center for Countering Digital Hate (@CCDHate) March 28, 2023
CCDH researchers estimated these five accounts alone generate $6.4 million a year in advertising revenue for Twitter.
Imran Ahmed, the CEO of the CCDH said,
An indifference to the rights of marginalized communities is converging with a ruthless drive for profit in real time.
Twitter must decide if they believe in the fundamental rights and freedoms of LGBTQ+ people, or if they want to continue profiting from and normalizing hate.
They cannot do both.”
The CCDH researchers found that the amount of tweets containing the “grooming narrative” spiked around particular events, such as the deadly shooting at LGBT Club Q in Colorado Springs in November last year, which left five people dead.
After the shooting, Nic Grzecka, the owner of Club Q, said he believed the anti-LGBT “groomer” narrative was part of the reason for the attack. Grzecka said.
Lying about our community, and making them into something they are not, creates a different type of hate.”
A month later, Elon Musk publicly attacked a former Twitter employee, Yoel Roth, suggesting he had once advocated for the sexualization of children. Roth, who is gay, was forced to flee his home, facing a barrage of harassment and online accusations that he was a “groomer.”
The incident coincided with another spike in tweets about “grooming,” ‘CCDH researchers found.
Shortly after his takeover, Musk wrote an open letter to jittery advertisers, seeking to reassure them that he would be willing to curb hate speech on the platform.
Researchers at the CCDH say their new report shows Musk hasn’t kept his word. Hood, an author of the CCDH’s new report says,
Musk has not kept his promises on hate and that means he’s not keeping his promises to advertisers either. The decisions that he is taking personally seem to be calculated with one goal in mind: boosting user visits.”
But this spreading of hate has devalued Twitter. This week a company-wide email says that Musk now values Twitter at $20 billion, less than half what he paid for it 6 months ago.
🚨NEW: Shocking new analysis by @CCDHate found that tweets with anti-LGBTQ+ ‘grooming’ narrative have jumped 119% since Elon Musk took over Twitter.— Center for Countering Digital Hate (@CCDHate) March 28, 2023
A thread 🧵https://t.co/437zJ3JdZn
(via The Daily Beast)