by Adam Vaughan
As appearing in The London Times

The follower counts of climate change deniers on Twitter have boomed since Elon Musk bought the social media platform.

UN officials warned of an “alarming flood” of misinformation on Twitter after the use of hashtags including #climatescam soared during the Cop27 climate conference last year, shortly after Musk’s takeover. Anecdotally, climate scientists have reported a significant increase in climate denial tweets.

An analysis revealed that 50 prominent accounts had benefited hugely from the new ownership, gaining 718 followers a week on average since Musk’s takeover. Before the entrepreneur bought Twitter for $44 billion in October, the average was 335 a week…

The Centre for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) said the rapid growth of the 50 accounts was unlikely to be down to a “universal uplift” of follower counts after Musk’s takeover. The group said a probable reason for the surge was the platform’s new paid-for Twitter Blue subscription. The service adds a blue tick identical to so-called “legacy verified accounts”, which were designed to make clear to users that the accounts of public figures are controlled by them.

The CCDH found that 23 of the 50 accounts were paying for Twitter Blue, including well-known climate deniers, Steve Milloy and Marc Morano.

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