Australia could fine Twitter $700,000 a day over hate speech concerns


Twitter Bonuses Lawsuit

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Key Takeaways
  • Australia’s eSafety Commissioner said in a press release it has received more complaints about Twitter than any other social network in the last year, with an increase after Musk—who brought back about 62,000 banned or suspended users—bought the platform and took over as CEO last October.
  • The department said the increase in hate speech came as Musk slashed Twitter’s staff by about 80%, cutting members of its trust and safety teams.
  • If Twitter doesn’t respond to the notice within 28 days, eSafety said it could face a maximum daily financial penalty of about 700,000 Australian dollars—or 475,685 U.S. dollars—for as long as the breach continues.
  • Forbes reached out to Twitter for comment.
Crucial Quote

“Twitter appears to have dropped the ball on tackling hate. A third of all complaints about online hate reported to us are now happening on Twitter.

“We are also aware of reports that the reinstatement of some of these previously banned accounts has emboldened extreme polarisers, peddlers of outrage and hate, including neo-Nazis both in Australia and overseas,” eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said in the release.

Key Background

Since Musk bought Twitter at a $44 billion valuation in October, he has made free speech one of his guiding principles, previously saying maintaining “freedom of speech is paramount”. But researchers have found that Musk’s fixation on free speech has led to a measurable increase in hate speech. In the 12 hours following Musk’s purchase of Twitter, the use of the N-word increased nearly 500%, according to the Brookings Institute.

The same study found in the week after that, tweets with “Jew” increased fivefold. The increases didn’t die off shortly after the ownership, either: A study from the University of Southern California published in April found since Musk had taken over, hateful users had become more hateful and overall hate on the site increased.

Advertising revenue took a massive hit after Musk’s takeover. CNN reported that by January, more than half of Twitter’s top advertisers stopped spending on the platform in part due to the reduced content moderation staff and a slew of controversial policies.


This isn’t the first notice of online hate Australia has delivered to Twitter. In February, the department asked Twitter, TikTok, Google YouTube, Twitch and Discord what steps they were taking to address “child sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual extortion and the promotion of harmful content” by the platforms’ algorithms. In this release, the department said it received responses to that notice and is “currently assessing the responses” before releasing information.

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