Elon Musk, CEO
1355 Market Street, Suite 900
San Francisco, CA 94103
Dear Mr. Musk,
The Global Alliance Against Digital Hate and Extremism is an international movement, supported by more than 70 civil society organizations from across the world, mobilizing collective action for a safe, fair, and just online experience for everyone.
In the weeks since you took ownership of Twitter, you’ve met with U.S.-based civil and human rights organizations about the critical need to maintain election integrity and content moderation teams to combat hate and disinformation on the platform. You’ve also been asked how Twitter will approach former high profile users who have been banned from the platform for repeatedly violating the rules and/or inciting violence.
As human rights and civil society groups representing regions from around the world, we also care deeply about these issues and are writing today to demand that you meet with civil society leaders and experts in our Alliance to discuss how you can approach your efforts to protect the integrity of Twitter and the safety of its users from a global perspective. It is especially critical to address this where no or insufficient regulation exists. Social media platforms, including Twitter, have not invested nearly enough resources to protect users, marginalized communities, or the sanctity of democracies, especially outside the United States and the European Union, which has led to the spread of online disinformation and hate, and spurred violent extremism across the globe.
We have witnessed firsthand real-world harms that are amplified by the business practices of major internet and social media companies, including Twitter. From hate speech, which is illegal in some regions of the world, to the dehumanization of entire communities, to the slaughter of Muslims in India, to genocidal attacks in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, to the spread of dangerous disinformation and conspiracy theories, such as the racist and antisemitic “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory that has led to violent terrorism against Jews, Muslims, immigrants and refugees, the devastation is all too real. And still, Twitter continues to seethe with disinformation and hate, including Holocaust denial, antisemitism, lies about the LGBTQ+ population, anti-Muslim hatred, and misogynistic material. The list of online harms that have resulted in offline harms is far too long to enumerate here and has impacted millions of people.
We ask that under your leadership, Twitter invests in what it takes to put an end to the spread of disinformation, hate speech, incitement to violence, and extremist propaganda on the platform that too often leads to offline violence and threatens human rights and inclusive democracies. We cannot strengthen democracies and protect human rights while Twitter amplifies, rewards, and profits from hate, extremism, and disinformation.
It is deeply concerning to see that under your leadership there has already been disinvestment in teams working to better moderate content and ensure algorithms work to amplify facts instead of lies and hate, for example the firing of 90 percent of the Twitter India staff, and more recently, cutting thousands of content moderators. Furthermore, your decision to fire Twitter’s human rights teams is dangerous and undermines any commitment you say you have to protecting users around the world. The reports of an increase in hate speech in the last few weeks causes serious concern. Our movement, from all regions of the world, is united in urging you to commit the necessary resources to ensure human rights are protected on Twitter, that free expression, not hate speech and incitements to violence, are protected, and that Twitter is positioned as a platform where ideas are discussed and challenged without abuse.
Specifically, we are calling on Twitter to:
- End exemptions from content moderation for the politically powerful and influencers globally.
- Clarify and improve your “Violent Organizations” and “Hateful Conduct” policies. Additionally, we call on you to ensure enforcement, with the input of civil society and experts, not only in the U.S. and Europe, but also in the Global South.
- Expand and ensure proportionate resources for content moderation in all languages and cultural competency for all regions where Twitter operates.
- Fix and design algorithms to end the amplification of disinformation, hate and extremism in all languages and regions where Twitter operates.
Twitter must prioritize these issues immediately, while maintaining full transparency with civil society regarding your policies, systems, practices, resources invested, and internal research relevant to disinformation, hate, and extremism globally. We are facing an intensification of global threats to democracies and ongoing violence driven from online platforms. With roughly 450 million monthly active users, this situation will become even more perilous if Twitter fails to act.
The Global Alliance Against Digital Hate and Extremism is asking for the opportunity to bring our considerable experience and expertise to the table to ensure that Twitter becomes a safe, fair, and just online space for everyone. We look forward to meeting with you at your earliest convenience. You can contact the Alliance and set up a meeting through Wendy Via, co-founder and president of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, and Alliance Steering Committee member, at GAADHE.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Global Alliance Against Digital Hate and Extremism
Steering Committee Members
Global Project Against Hate and Extremism
“NEVER AGAIN” Association
Africa Sans Haine
Center for Countering Digital Hate
Citizen D / Drzavljan D
Dangerous Speech Project
Digital Africa Research Lab
Digital Rights Foundation
Educators’ Institute for Human Rights
Fair Vote UK
Far Right Observatory
Forces of Renewal Southeast Asia (FORSEA)
Forum for Secular Bangladesh & Trial of War Criminals of 1971
Foundation for a Path Forward
Free Rohingya Coalition
Greek Helsinki Monitor
Háttér Társaság / Háttér Society
Justice for Prosperity
LOVE-Storm Together against Online Hate
Media Diversity Institute
Media Monitoring Africa
Migrant, Immigrant & Refugee Rights Alliance
Next Billion Network
Red Dot Foundation Global
Red Dot Foundation India
Sarajevo Open Centre
The Conscious Advertising Network (CAN)
The London Story
The Media Diversity Institute
The Sparrow Project
UCD Centre for Digital Policy
World Jewish Congress