Auditing Elon Musk’s Impact on Hate Speech and Bots


  • Daniel Hickey Oregon State University
  • Matheus Schmitz USC Information Sciences Institute
  • Daniel Fessler University of California, Los Angeles Bedari Kindness Institute, University of California, Los Angeles Center for Behavior, Evolution, & Culture, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Paul E. Smaldino University of California, Merced Santa Fe Institute
  • Goran Muric USC Information Sciences Institute
  • Keith Burghardt USC Information Sciences Institute



, Qualitative and quantitative studies of social media, Subjectivity in textual data; sentiment analysis; polarity/opinion identification and extraction, linguistic analyses of social media behavior, Credibility of online content


On October 27th, 2022, Elon Musk purchased Twitter, becoming its new CEO and firing many top executives in the process. Musk listed fewer restrictions on content moderation and removal of spam bots among his goals for the platform. Given findings of prior research on moderation and hate speech in online communities, the promise of less strict content moderation poses the concern that hate will rise on Twitter. We examine the levels of hate speech and prevalence of bots before and after Musk's acquisition of the platform. We find that hate speech rose dramatically upon Musk purchasing Twitter and the prevalence of most types of bots increased, while the prevalence of astroturf bots decreased.




How to Cite

Hickey, D., Schmitz, M., Fessler, D., Smaldino, P. E., Muric, G., & Burghardt, K. (2023). Auditing Elon Musk’s Impact on Hate Speech and Bots. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 17(1), 1133-1137.