Twitter fires over concerns about US midterm fuel misinformation
Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, has pledged the platform won’t grow into a “free-for-all hell cop,” but experts warn that mass layoffs could reduce social network’s ability to prevent misinformation.
Twitter on Friday laid off about half of its 7,500-strong workforce, just days before next week. midterm elections in the United States, when the amount of fake content will spike on social media.
The cuts, which come after Musk’s $44 million acquisition of the company, have affected multiple divisions, including the trust and safety teams that manage content moderation as well as engineering. engineering and machine learning, the US report said.
Kate Starbird, a disinformation researcher and assistant professor at the University of Washington.
Starbird warned in her own Twitter post about the increased risk of “impersonation” attempts, “misinformation coordinated by manipulators,” and “hoaxes intended to get you to spread the word.” spread lies.”
Jessica Gonzalez, co-executive director of the nonpartisan group Free Press, said she was concerned that Twitter’s content moderation efforts could sag ahead of the election, “when we learned that the social network deviate to misinform, threaten and harm voters. color.”
“Twitter was already hell before Musk took over, and his actions … will only make it worse,” Gonzalez said.
Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of safety and integrity, sought to allay those concerns, saying the platform’s frontline moderators were least affected by the cuts and resisted. Harmful misinformation in midterms is “first priority”.
“While we say goodbye to incredibly talented friends and colleagues… our core moderation capabilities remain intact,” Roth tweeted.
Free Press is part of more than 60 . alliance civil society groups on Friday urged advertisers to boycott the platform until it pledges to be a “safe place”.
Alliance members met with Musk earlier this week after academic studies reported a significant increase hate speechNazi memes and racist taunts after he bought the company.
A Montclair State University study found that the acquisition of Twitter by Musk, a free-speech autocrat, “created a perception among extreme users that restrictions on content would be eased. .”
“We met with Elon Musk earlier this week to express our deep concern about some of his plans and the rise in harmful content following his acquisition,” the union used the hashtag. “Stop Toxic Twitter” said.
“Since that time, hate and misinformation has continued to grow, and Musk has taken actions that make us fear that the worst is yet to come,” the group said in a statement. .
But Musk dismissed that assessment, tweeting that “we’ve actually seen hate speech at times this week fall *below* our previous standards”, despite He provided no data to support this claim.
“Just to be clear, Twitter’s strong commitment to content moderation remains completely unchanged,” Musk wrote on Friday.
Musk has promised to reduce Twitter’s content restrictions, and since the acquisition has announced plans to create a “content moderation board” to review the company’s policies.
Zeve Sanderson, executive director of New York University’s Center for Politics and Social Media, said: “Despite Musk’s public commitment to transparency, his decision to fire off-duty employees is This is something of great concern to him.
Musk emphasized that the layoffs were necessary because the company was losing more than $4 million a day.
Twitter has long struggled to make a profit and has failed to keep up with Facebook, Instagram and TikTok in attracting new users.
© 2022 AFP
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