Twitter’s proprietor Elon Musk has pledged the platform is not going to change into a “hellscape,” however specialists worry a employees exodus following mass layoffs could have devastated its capability to fight misinformation, impersonation and information theft.
Twitter devolved into what campaigners described as a cesspit of falsehoods and hate speech after latest layoffs lower half the corporate’s 7,500 employees and pretend accounts proliferated following its botched rollout of a paid verification system.
Further throwing the influential platform into disarray – and elevating doubt about its very existence – experiences mentioned lots of of workers selected to depart the corporate on Thursday in defiance of an ultimatum from Musk.
“The huge number of layoffs and resignations raises serious questions about content moderation and the security of user data,” Cheyenne Hunt-Majer, from the nonprofit Public Citizen, instructed AFP.
“It is imperative that (US regulators) act with urgency as users could have their sensitive data exploited or even stolen given the lack of sufficient staff that remain to adequately protect it.”
The hashtag #RIPTwitter gained enormous traction on the positioning after resignations poured in from workers who selected “no” to Musk’s demand that they both be “extremely hardcore” or exit the corporate.
Twitter has plunged into turmoil as Musk, a self-professed free speech absolutist, seeks to shake up the money-losing firm after his blockbuster $44 billion buyout late final month.
– ‘Debacle’ –
The website’s content material moderation groups – largely outsourced contractors that fight misinformation – have been axed and numerous engineers fired after brazenly criticizing Musk on Twitter or on an inner messaging board, in response to experiences and tweets.
Wary manufacturers have paused or slowed down advert spending – Twitter’s largest income supply – after a spike in racist and antisemitic trolling on the platform.
“Misinformation super spreaders” – or untrustworthy accounts peddling falsehoods — noticed a 57 p.c soar in engagement within the week after Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, in response to a survey by the nonprofit watchdog group NewsGuard.
“Elon Musk has swiftly decimated Twitter’s ability to maintain the platform’s integrity, health and safety,” mentioned Jessica Gonzalez, co-chief government officer on the nonpartisan group Free Press.
“If there is one lesson that all social-media platforms must take away from this debacle, it’s that without protecting users from hate and lies you have no company at all.”
In a response to critics, Musk on Friday as he indicated a brand new path for content material moderation on the positioning.
While not being completely faraway from the positioning, Musk mentioned that “negative/hate tweets” shall be “max deboosted (and) demonetized, so no ads or other revenue to Twitter.”
“You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically seek it out, which is no different from rest of Internet,” he added.
But his plan fell on skeptical ears.
– ‘Significant blow’ –
“We could certainly see a spike in misinformation, hate speech, and other objectionable content because of Musk’s latest moves,” Zeve Sanderson, government director of the New York University’s Center for Social Media and Politics, instructed AFP.
“Content moderation is a lot harder to do without people around to actually do content moderation.”
In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, a regulatory company, a bunch of Democratic senators blamed Musk for introducing “alarming” new options that undermined security regardless of warnings that they might be “abused for fraud, scams and dangerous impersonation.”
“Users are already facing the serious repercussions of this growth-at-all-costs strategy,” they wrote within the letter revealed Thursday, noting the latest spike in pretend accounts impersonating corporations, politicians and celebrities.
Among the victims was drugmaker Eli Lilly, whose inventory value nosedived — erasing billions in market capitalization — after a parody account stamped with a verification tag bought for $8 tweeted that insulin was being made out there at no cost.
Last week, Twitter disabled sign-ups for the contentious function generally known as Twitter Blue, with experiences saying it had been quickly disabled to assist tackle impersonation points — however not earlier than a number of manufacturers took a success.
Given the obvious vulnerabilities, digital specialists have warned activists, notably in autocratic international locations, of the elevated threat of id theft or their non-public messages falling into the arms of hackers.
“Around the world, Twitter is used to organize against oppression,” mentioned Hunt-Majer.
“If Musk’s mismanagement kills it, that would be a significant blow to freedom of information and, frankly, human rights in general on a global scale.”
(Except for the headline, this story has been edited by biznewz employees and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)
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