According to a Washington Post tech report, Tuesday’s purchase by Elon Musk of Twitter had a negative impact on the platform’s ability “protect vulnerable populations.”
The piece was written by Joseph Menn, Faiz Siddiqui, and Cat Zakrzewski. It argued that Musk has imposed his will upon the company by destroying the “Trust and Safety team”, which used to deliberate and “define danger language”
The article, headlined “Musk’s ‘free speech’ agenda dismantles Twitter safety work, insiders claim,” suggested that he did this inadvertently, mentioning multiple instances when his decisions caused laid-off employees to cry.
The story featured more than 12 former and current Twitter employees who were frustrated by Musk’s “years of careful working” in reinstating Twitter accounts of former President Donald Trump, The Babylon Bee and other sites deemed to be threats by the now-defunct Trust and Safety team.
According to the report, Musk demanded that all employees work “hardcore” hours and massive layoffs have led to one of the most important social media sites in the world operating with a small staff. Experts are predicting a crash. Advertisers are fleeing.”
The billionaire Tesla CEO used “culture-war” issues to create his brand. “Musk moved quickly — sometimes erratically — in order to undermine a system that had been established over a decade to protect vulnerable communities and define dangerous language on site. He replaced it with his more impulsive style for ad-hoc decision-making.”
The reporters continued the article by saying that they had spoken to “more than 12 current and former employees” who claimed Musk could impose his will via Twitter because he “fired/alienated Trust and Safety team leader and reversed their decisions.”
The piece stated that Musk was looking to automate much the Trust and Safety team’s work to monitor content — eliminating some nuance from complex decisions for a more economical approach — rather than repopulate it. This implies that Twitter will be making poorer moderation decisions in the future.
According to the report, Musk’s insensitivity was evident when she claimed that Gadde lost her access to company email and other system within hours of taking control. She couldn’t even bid farewell. Some employees left quietly to cry at a Halloween party held at Twitter headquarters, where children were dressed up in costumes.
The Post mentioned Musk’s decision that Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist, and The Babylon Bee, would be reinstated. It stated, “If The Babylon Bee restored the accounts without a clear explanation, it would undo many years of carefully worked.” The Post described Musk’s decision to reinstate The Babylon Bee and Jordan Peterson as a “sudden request” that was “problematic.”
The article also mentioned “Black Thursday”, the day Musk laid off large portions of his Trust and Safety team. It said, “As layoff notifications went out — first, to Asia and Europe then to the United States — a group long-standing Twitter executives huddled in a conference hall and wept.”
After seeing her emails from fired Twitter employers bounce back, Thenmozhi Soundsararajan, executive director of Equality Labs in India, said to the paper that it was a very dangerous time to fire moderators and this staff. This is the final nail in the coffin for Twitter, which has already been in a state that has failed.