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Twitter’s former head of trust and safety says platform is LESS safe under Elon Musk – despite the network cracking down on a hateful trolling campaign after mogul’s purchase
- Twitter’s former head of trust and safety Yoel Roth now says that the platform is less safe under Elon Musk’s leadership
- However, the network took down an organized trolling campaign that flooded it with racist posts not long after the mogul’s buyout
- ‘He would say things that were consistent with establishing a moderation council… My optimism ultimately faded,’ Roth said
- From the botched rollout of Twitter Blue to impersonations of prominent brands and advertisers fleeing, the network has been plagued with problems
Twitter’s former head of trust and safety Yoel Roth now says the platform is less safe under Elon Musk – despite the platform having taken down a hateful trolling campaign shortly after the mogul took over.
In his first public interview since quitting the network, Roth was asked by journalist Kara Swisher if he still believes the platform was safer since Musk’s takeover, which was his initial description when was still a Twitter executive. ‘I don’t,’ he said at a Tuesday event hosted by the Knight Foundation.
Roth was a longtime member of Twitter’s policy team and he was one of the few top executives to remain with the platform in the highly chaotic first weeks after Musk’s $44 billion takeover was approved.
Roth however did acknowledge that Twitter’s safety team shut down a trolling campaign that spread hateful content and also showed a measurable decrease in the prevalence of such conduct on the platform relative to before the incident. The company removed 1,500 accounts, many of which were ‘repeat bad actors,’ Roth tweeted at the time.
Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth (right), now says that he does not feel the platform is safer under the leadership of Elon Musk (left)
DailyMail.com reached out to Twitter for comment about Roth’s recent statements but did not hear back prior to publication.
‘A core principle in trust and safety is you have to be able to measure it, you have to understand what the shape of the problem is and you have to be able to quantify it and you have to know if you’re doing anything that is impactful,’ he added.
When Swisher pressed him on why his views of Musk’s leadership have changed, Roth said:
‘He would say things that were consistent with establishing a moderation council, that were consistent with not making capricious, unilateral decisions, and I was optimistic on the basis of that. My optimism ultimately faded.’
Musk would often retweet or highlight Roth’s explanations for what was taking place in those first weeks after the buyout.
The mogul’s revamp of the platform has not gone according to plan thus far.
After the initial surge of racist content, there was a marked increase in impersonations and scams – some of which had real world negative consequences.
That was followed by a botched rollout of Twitter Blue and paid verification, as well as vows from some verified users to leave the platform for Mastodon.
‘It went exactly off the rails in the way that we anticipated, and there weren’t the safeguards that needed to be in place to address it upfront,’ Roth said, according to Endgadget, referring to the surge in scams and impersonations that followed the initial rollout of Twitter Blue.
‘Are there enough people who understand the emergent malicious campaigns that happen on the service and understand it well enough to guide product strategy and policy direction,’ Roth asked.
‘I don’t think that there are enough people left at the company who can do that work.’
Musk is also reinstating at least 62,000 previously banned accounts, all of which have more than 10,000 followers, according to a report from Platformer.
Former President Trump, ex-White House advisor Steve Bannon and a number of prominent right-wing personalities have been welcomed back.
Upon taking the reins, Musk laid off about half of the company’s 7,000 or so employees as a cost cutting measure.
In addition, at least 1,200 more resigned in the face of his ‘hardcore’ ultimatum that was sent out shortly thereafter – although the firm has also tried to bring some of those laid off engineers back.
HOW ELSE COULD MUSK CHANGE TWITTER?
- Charge a $20 per month subscription fee for a ‘Blue Tick’
- More advertisements
- Relax content restrictions
- Pay content creators
- Make its algorithms open source
- Ridding spam bots with increased authentication checks
- Cheaper ‘Twitter Blue’ verification service
- Edit Button for users worldwide
- Bring back Vine and incorporate it with Twitter
Read more here
Upon taking the reins, Musk quickly laid off about half of the company’s 7,000 or so employees. In addition, at least 1,200 more resigned in the face of his ‘hardcore’ ultimatum that was sent out shortly thereafter