New research from the Pew Research Center shows that most Twitter users in the U.S. have taken a break from using the app within the last year. Most people took those Twitter breaks following Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, signaling that his ownership of the platform contributed to users leaving the app.
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According to the study, 60% of surveyed Americans left Twitter for several weeks. Age and political standings were insignificant in determining if someone took a break from Twitter, but race was a significant factor.
Black Twitter users (67%) were more likely to take a break from Twitter than White people (60%) or Hispanic people (54%). Under Elon Musk’s leadership, slurs against Black people appeared on the app at triple the daily rate recorded before his acquisition.
Since Musk took the helm at Twitter, his quest to protect “free speech” on the platform has left many marginalized users feeling unsafe. Musk reinstated the Twitter accounts of many controversial figures, including those banned for hate speech and spreading misinformation.
About two months after Musk became Twitter’s owner, he dissolved Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council, an advisory board of approximately 100 independent civil and human rights organizations that addressed hate speech and other problems on Twitter.
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Since the Council’s dissolution, the BBC reported that Twitter insiders assert that the company does not have the resources to shield Twitter users from abuse, misinformation, or online trolling.
A quarter of the Pew Research Center’s study participants say they will not likely use Twitter a year from now.