Musk mocks report finding Twitter enables trolls and disinformation
‘Sorry for turning Twitter from a nurturing paradise into a place that has….trolls! Elon Musk mocks BBC report that his leadership has let ‘toxic trolls, disinformation and child sexual exploitation’ thrive at the tech giant
- Twitter insiders told the BBC it was no longer able to ensure user safety
- Musk responded appearing to dismiss the concerns raised on Monday
Elon Musk today snapped back at a BBC Panorama investigation which said his social media platform, Twitter, is struggling to protect users from online abuse and child sexual exploitation.
In a message posted on the site, he sarcastically apologized for ‘turning Twitter from a nurturing paradise into a place that has… trolls.’
Twitter insiders previously told the BBC that the company could not protect users from ‘trolls’ following recent layoffs. They said that that new changes and features made it hard to protect Twitter users from trolling and harassment.
This was supported by ‘exclusive academic data’ provided to the BBC, which found misogynistic hate was on the rise on the site and that there had been a 69% increase in new accounts following misogynistic or abusive profiles.
Musk responded to a user who said that before the October takeover, nobody had ever said anything mean to them. They said: ‘It was a beautiful utopia. Now I fear for my life daily.’
The Twitter CEO responded: ‘Literally roflmao’ – short for rolling on the floor laughing my a** off.
Elon Musk recently laid off 200 Twitter staff, the latest wave of cuts as the company struggles to balance the books. Insiders warn this has made it harder to ensure the site stays safe
Elon Musk responds to a BBC report, appearing to mock claims Twitter can no longer protect users from harassing ‘trolls’
The BBC Panorama report cited figures from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue think tank which showed that tens of thousands of new accounts have popped up and immediately followed known abusive and misogynistic profiles since Mr Musk took over.
READ MORE: ‘Have a good Sunday!’ Elon Musk posts tweet hours after sacking 200 MORE Twitter staff slashing the work force to less than 2,000 – as top lieutenant who led the blue tick relaunch and slept on the office floor is among the casualties
The figures were 69% higher than before he was in charge, suggesting a ‘permissive environment,’ the report claimed.
The BBC cited Lisa Jennings Young, a former head of content design at Twitter, who said that before the takeover the platform was trying to crack down on trolling, which was widespread on Twitter.
‘It was not at all perfect. But we were trying, and we were making things better all the time,’ she said.
She said everyone on her team, which created safety measures designed to protect users from hate, had been sacked.
Young said one of her team’s most successful features was the ‘harmful reply nudge’, allowing users to be warned against posting harmful content – without actually preventing them from posting.
Using AI technology to detect harmful language, the ‘nudge’ alerts users before they send a tweet – stopping many people from writing abusive messages.
Ray Serrato, a former Twitter worker who tackled state-sponsored disinformation, said that the team he used to work for had been ‘decimated’ and only has minimized capacity today.
He said: ‘Twitter might have been the refuge where journalists would go out and have their voice be heard and be critical of the government. But I’m not sure that’s going to be the case anymore.’
‘There are a number of key experts that are no longer in that team that would have covered special regions, or threat actors, from Russia to China.’
Another anonymous source told the BBC that the drain of expertise from Twitter said that the team of 20 people who used to work on tackling child sexual exploitation had been cut to just six or seven.
Lisa Jennings Young (pictured), Head of Design and Content at Twitter, explained how her whole team had been sacked
At the end of February, Twitter laid off another 200 employees, around 10 percent of its remaining workforce, in the latest round of job cuts since Elon Musk took over last October.
The layoffs brought Twitter’s workforce down to under 2,000 – a sharp fall from the 7,500 employed when the billionaire first took over.
A day after, Musk Tweeted: ‘Hope you have a good Sunday. First day of the rest of your life.’
Saturday’s cuts targeted product managers, data scientists and engineers and include product manager and Musk devotee Esther Crawford who led the launch of paid subscription service Twitter Blue.
Crawford famously backed Musk’s ‘extremely hardcore’ Twitter 2.0 culture when he first took over, and was pictured on the office floor in a sleeping bag with a sleeping mask in November 2022.
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