“A year later, Musk’s X is tilting right. And sinking.”


One year after billionaire Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion, aiming to rid it of a “woke mind virus” that he believed was suppressing free speech, the site’s business outlook appears dire.

The number of people actively tweeting has dropped by more than 30 percent, according to previously unreported data obtained by The Washington Post, and the company — which the entrepreneur behind Tesla and SpaceX has renamed X — is hemorrhaging advertisers and revenue, interviews show.

But in at least one respect, Musk has delivered on his original promise: Twitter has become far less “woke.”

Through dramatic product changes, sudden policy shifts, and his own outsize presence on the platform, Musk has rapidly re-engineered who has a voice on a service that used to be the hub of real-time news and global debate. A site that fueled social movements such as the Arab Spring, Black Lives Matter and #MeToo has veered noticeably rightward under Musk, especially in the United States, say organizers from across the political spectrum.


Now rebranded as X, the site has experienced a surge in racist, antisemitic and other hateful speech. Under Mr. Musk’s watch, millions of people have been exposed to misinformation about climate change. Foreign governments and operatives — from Russia to China to Hamas — have spread divisive propaganda with little or no interference.

Mr. Musk and his team have repeatedly asserted that such concerns are overblown, sometimes pushing back aggressively against people who voice them. Yet dozens of studies from multiple organizations have shown otherwise, demonstrating on issue after issue a similar trend: an increase in harmful content on X during Mr. Musk’s tenure.

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