Top UK Scientists Report Surge in Twitter Abuse from Climate Deniers Since Elon Musk Takeover

Top UK Scientists Report Surge in Twitter Abuse from Climate Deniers Since Elon Musk Takeover

Twitter, the Musk-led social media platform, is facing criticism from some of the UK’s top climate scientists for its alleged failure to curb online abuse from climate crisis deniers, The Guardian reports.

This issue has become increasingly concerning since the appointment of Elon Musk as the CEO of Twitter last year.

Did Twitter Layoffs Impact the Platform’s Security?

According to these scientists, key figures responsible for prioritizing “trusted” content have been laid off, leaving the platform vulnerable to the spread of false information.

Several organizations noted in October 2022 that the massive layoffs had a substantial impact on Twitter’s ability to regulate harmful content and avoid data security crises.

The company’s job cuts appear to include critical infrastructure such as data centers, which might make safeguarding data and defending against security issues more difficult for Twitter’s estimated 200 million daily active users.

More Concerns

Furthermore, one of the scientists notes that Twitter’s sustainability arm has disappeared, and several users with millions of followers who spread false information about the climate emergency have had their accounts reinstated. 

The impact of this is significant, with climate scientists experiencing an increase in abuse and hostile comments that are affecting their mental health.

One such scientist, Mark Maslin, a professor of earth system science at University College London, has been particularly targeted as he challenges climate deniers, The Guardian reports.

Maslin used to have regular meetings with Sean Boyle, Twitter’s former head of sustainability, who was laid off shortly after Musk took over in April 2022. 

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Maslin claims that since Boyle was sacked, “Twitter became the wild west.”

Climate Crisis Denier on the Rise

According to The Guardian, here are some more scientists who are facing the new challenge on Twitter:

Doug McNeall, a statistician at the Met Office Hadley Centre at Exeter University, had also reported that he had had to block or mute many accounts on Twitter, even before Elon Musk’s arrival, due to the negative impact it was having on his well-being. 

Ed Hawkins, a professor of climate science at Reading University with a whopping 94,000 Twitter followers, has also noticed a “huge increase” in tweets from climate deniers. Sadly, these tweets often contain conspiracy theories or long-debunked topics.

Professor Richard Betts, chair of climate impacts at Exeter University and head of climate impacts at the Hadley Centre, has described how “outright hostility has increased in recent weeks.” 

Most of the comments are just people saying, “You’re talking rubbish,” with little interest in having a constructive conversation. The report also suggests that coordinated efforts by climate change deniers make it appear that climate denial is more prevalent than it really is.

With these reports, climate scientists are facing a new kind of danger in their fight to save the planet – online abuse. 

According to a survey conducted by Global Witness, an advocacy organization, out of 468 climate scientists from across the globe, prominent scientists are the most likely to face abuse.

Half of the scientists who had published at least ten papers reported being subjected to online harassment due to their climate work.

Stay posted here at Tech Times.

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