Musk May Being Showing NYT What It's Like to Be Censored, Appears to Nuke Traffic to Paper


Elon Musk — the owner of X, formerly Twitter — appears to be giving The New York Times a taste of what conservative news outlets have experienced on social media platforms for years: a throttling of traffic to the site.

“Since late July, engagement on X posts linking to the New York Times has dropped dramatically,” Semafor reported Sunday.

“The drop in shares and other engagement on tweets with Times links is abrupt, and is not reflected in links to similar news organizations including CNN, the Washington Post, and the BBC, according to NewsWhip’s data on 300,000 influential users of X,” the outlet added.

Meanwhile, the Times’ engagement on Facebook remained consistent compared to other outlets.

“There was a drop off in engagement for NYT compared to the other sites in late July/early August,” NewsWhip spokesman Benedict Nicholson told Semafor.

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The outlet offered as an example that former President Barack Obama shared two Times articles on X about healthcare costs, which reached 1 million and fewer than 800,000 users respectively.

By comparison a Politico article Obama shared about him taking the lead in the Democrats’ push for election redistricting reached 13 million views.

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Semafor’s Max Tani believes that X has singled out the Times for some reason.

“It wouldn’t be the first time that the platform has focused on the Times since Musk took over,” he noted. “Twitter briefly suspended Times tech reporter Ryan Mac last year.”

“Earlier this summer, X briefly imposed a several second delay on traffic from Twitter to links to the Times, Reuters and social media rivals including Facebook and Instagram,” Tani added.

Musk tweeted in April, “The real tragedy of @NYTimes is that their propaganda isn’t even interesting.”

“Also, their feed is the Twitter equivalent of diarrhea. It’s unreadable. They would have far more real followers if they only posted their top articles. Same applies to all publications,” he added.

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Musk also hammered the Times last month for what he characterized as supporting genocide in his native South Africa.

“If ever there was a time to cancel that publication, it is now,” he posted.

Musk also described the Times as “a declining, once-powerful, but fundamentally doomed to be regional & increasingly archaic legacy publication.”

If the outlet is being throttled by X, the Times is only experiencing what conservatives endured from Facebook and Twitter for years.

The Western Journal conducted an original study in 2018 following Facebook’s “trusted sources” algorithm change. The study was cited in a congressional hearing on the subject in April 2018.

The 12 most conservative sites lost over a quarter of their traffic from Facebook, while CNN’s shot up 43 percent.

In January 2018, prior to the algorithm change, The Western Journal ranked fourth among the most-engaged news sites on Facebook just behind the Times, while Fox News was No. 1, according to Newswhip. CNN wasn’t even in the top 10.

By March 2018, following the change, CNN sat atop the list of publishers, while the Times ranked fourth and Fox was the only remaining conservative site in the top 10.

In March of this year, Fox News was the only conservative publisher in the top 10.

The Hill report in April 2022, prior to Musk’s purchase of Twitter, a study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale and the University of Exeter found that Twitter suspended Republican users far more frequently than Democrats.

“The researchers identified 9,000 politically engaged Twitter users in October 2020, half Democratic and half Republican. They tracked the sample for seven months after the November 2020 election,” The Hill noted.

“During that period, Twitter suspended 7.7 percent of the Democrats. In contrast, the platform suspended 35.6 percent of the Republicans — a more-than-fourfold difference,” the news outlet said, noting that Twitter often suspended the accounts for spreading “misinformation.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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