Poor Marianna Spring. Since Elon Musk took over Twitter in October 2022, the BBC’s ludicrously titled ‘Disinformation Correspondent‘ has seen abuse targeted at her triple, according to researchcommissioned for her Panorama programme about Twitter that aired on BBC One last night.
Abuse on Twitter is nothing new for me – I’m a reporter who shares my coverage of disinformation, conspiracies and hate there. But throughout most of last year I noticed it steadily lessening across all of the social media sites. And then in November I realised it had got worse on Twitter again.
It turns out, I was right. A team from the International Center for Journalists and the University of Sheffield have been tracking the hate I receive, and their data revealed the abuse targeted at me on Twitter had more than tripled since Mr. Musk took over, compared with the same period in the year before.
Right, so in this sample of one average ‘disinformation correspondent’, might anything else have influenced the amount of abuse she received on Twitter? Such as her output, perhaps. Let’s see.
Here’s the chart the researchers produced showing Twitter abuse against her.
The researchers report that “while the abuse towards Spring was dramatically reduced by the end of 2021 after Twitter’s improved efforts to curb attacks, a comparable data sample from November 2022-January 2023 shows a tripling of abuse following Musk’s takeover”.
Read More: No BBC, Elon Musk is Not to Blame for a ‘Tripling of Abuse’ on Twitter