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Tech: Twitter 'must not willfully turn a blind eye to violent and abusive speech'

Responding to news that billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has bought Twitter for $44bn (£34.5bn), Michael Kleinman, Director of Technology and Human Rights at Amnesty International USA, said: 

“Amnesty International has tracked the disturbing persistence of hate speech on Twitter – especially violent and abusive speech against women and non-binary persons. Our Toxic Twitter report from 2018 found that the platform failed to uphold its responsibility to protect women’s rights online, leading many women to silence or to censor themselves on the platform. 

"We have since released a number of follow-up reports tracking Twitter’s continued lack of progress on this issue. Our most recent report, from December 2021, highlighted several concrete steps that Twitter should take to address hateful and abusive speech against women, of which they have fully implemented only one. 

"Regardless of ownership, Twitter has a responsibility to protect human rights, including the rights to live free from discrimination and violence, and to freedom of expression and opinion – a responsibility that they already too often fail. We are concerned with any steps that Twitter might take to erode enforcement of the policies and mechanisms designed to protect users. 

"The last thing we need is a Twitter that willfully turns a blind eye to violent and abusive speech against users, particularly those most disproportionately impacted, including such as women, non-binary persons, and others.”

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