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Since Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, climate denial has been rampant. To avoid waves of hatred on the social network, some scientists prefer to leave it. Thus, Peter Gleick, a climate and water specialist followed by nearly 99,000 people on Twitter, announced on May 21 that he would no longer publish messages on the platform, accusing it of amplifying racism and racism. Sexism.
The researcher says he is used to “aggressive, personal and ad hominem attacks, going as far as direct physical threats”. But, he told AFP, “in recent months, since the arrival of the new owner and the changes at Twitter, the amount and intensity of attacks has skyrocketed”.
Since buying Twitter six months ago, billionaire Elon Musk has eased moderation on problematic content and let back previously banned figures like Donald Trump. Robert Rohde, of the Berkeley Earth association, also analyzed the activity of hundreds of accounts of highly followed specialists speaking about climate science, before and after the purchase of Twitter. He concluded that these tweets no longer had the same echo: the average number of “likes” (to mark approval) fell by 38% and they were retweeted 40% less often.
A moderation that leaves something to be desired
Andrew Dessler, professor of atmospheric science at Texas A&M University, has decided to transfer most of his climate communication to another platform called Substack. “Communications about climate on Twitter are less useful (now) because I see my tweets getting less engagement,” he says.
“In response to almost any tweet about climate change, I am inundated with replies from verified accounts with misleading or misinformed claims,” he points out. Others have simply given up on Twitter. Katharine Hayhoe calculates that of the 3,000 climate scientists she listed, 100 disappeared after the takeover of the firm from the blue bird.