Technology

Twitter official: Some content enforcement work frozen after Musk acquisition

Twitter headquarters is shown in San Francisco, Friday, Oct. 28, 2022.
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press
Twitter headquarters is shown in San Francisco, Friday, Oct. 28, 2022.

A top Twitter official confirmed that some content enforcement work on the platform has been frozen following Elon Musk’s purchase of the company, which was finalized late last week. 

Yoel Roth, the head of safety and integrity for Twitter, tweeted on Tuesday in response to a Bloomberg story that reported many staffers for the website had their access to content moderation tools frozen after the acquisition. 

“This is exactly what we (or any company) should be doing in the midst of a corporate transition to reduce opportunities for insider risk,” Roth said. “We’re still enforcing our rules at scale.” 

Bloomberg reported that hundreds of staff members on the trust and safety team usually have access to tools to remove posts with misinformation or hate speech, but that number has dropped to 15. 

Musk has received widespread attention and has faced controversy for emphasizing few limits to free speech on the platform, leading some to believe he will be less likely to have tweets spreading disinformation taken down. 

The Washington Post reported that racist and antisemitic tweets quickly spread on Twitter after Musk completed his $44 billion deal to take over the company. 

Musk has described himself as a “free speech absolutist.” But he told advertisers in a letter on Thursday that Twitter cannot become a “free-for-all hellscape.” 

Roth tweeted on Monday that Twitter has been focused on addressing a surge in hateful content on the platform since Saturday, removing more than 1,500 accounts and reducing views of these posts to near zero. He said impressions do not tell the entire story and that the company is going to continue to invest in policy and technology to improve its abilities. 

Musk received backlash after he tweeted and deleted a link to an article espousing a right-wing conspiracy theory about the circumstances of the Friday attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Tags content moderation disinformation Elon Musk Elon Musk Twitter
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