Conservative Twitter accounts have reported gaining thousands of new followers after Tesla CEO Elon Musk purchased the platform last week.
The New York Times reported last week that “far right” Twitter accounts gained thousands of new followers according to research from Memetica, a company that analyzes digital data:
“The Twitter account of Kari Lake, a Republican candidate for governor in Arizona, gained 18,000 followers in the last 24 hours, a 600 percent increase from the usual number of new followers that Ms. Lake typically sees in a day, according to Memetica. Of those 18,000 new followers, over 3,100 were new to Twitter.
Representative Lauren Boebert, a Republican of Colorado, gained over 18,679 new followers in the last 24 hours, a 1,200 percent jump above normal, Memetica said. Nearly half of those new followers were also new to Twitter.”
Memetica's CEO, Ben Decker, said the company’s findings were alarming and told the Times that the surge in followers “could be an indication that far-right people are migrating back to Twitter as they see the potential for a more friendly environment.”
“The more followers and wider reach these accounts have, the more distribution these ideas have,” Decker added.
Not surprisingly, Decker did not define what constitutes a “far right” Twitter account.
These comments show that Musk’s concerns about the biases of online platforms against certain viewpoints are well-founded.
For his part, Musk himself has argued that Twitter is the “de facto public town square” and should be legally treated as such.
“Given that Twitter serves as the de facto public town square, failing to adhere to free speech principles fundamentally undermines democracy,” he tweeted in March.
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