Twitter dissolves its Trust and Safety advisory group, puts legacy checkmarks on notice

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Twitter has disbanded its Trust and Safety Council, a group of around 100 independent civil, human rights and other organizations. The council was formed in 2016 as a way for the social media company to tackle hate speech, self-harm, suicide, child exploitation, and other related issues.

On Monday night, the council was scheduled to meet with Twitter representatives, including the new head of trust and safety Ella Irwin. But before the meeting could even take place, Twitter informed the group via email that the council will be disbanded, according to multiple members.

According to the email, the platform was “reevaluating how best to bring external insights” and the council is “not the best structure to do this.” It further stated:

Our work to make Twitter a safe, informative place will be moving faster and more aggressively than ever before and we will continue to welcome your ideas going forward about how to achieve this goal.

While the group guided Twitter on how the platform can combat hate, harassment, and other issues, they didn’t review specific content disputes and have any decision-making authority. They also didn't speak on Twitter’s behalf.

About a week ago, three members of the council resigned, warning that the "safety and wellbeing of Twitter’s users are on the decline." Twitter CEO Elon Musk replied to their tweet with "It is a crime that they refused to take action on child exploitation for years!" Former CEO Jack Dorsey, however, called the claim false.

As of this writing, the web page dedicated to the Trust and Safety council is inaccessible (archive).

When Musk purchased Twitter back in late October, he floated the idea of forming a "content moderation council." However, he later changed his mind.

Goodbye, legacy checkmarks

TwitterIn other Twitter news, Musk announced that the platform will remove all legacy blue checkmarks in the next few months, claiming that the way in which they were given out was "corrupt and nonsensical." Over the past few days, Twitter started showing a prompt on verified accounts, saying that the legacy verified account "may or may not be notable."

If a user wants to get their blue checkmark back, they will have to subscribe to Twitter Blue, which costs $8 a month for web users and $11 for those on iPhones. However, the new checkmark will say that they are verified because they are subscribed to Blue, and not because they are a notable figure.

Twitter’s verified checkmark was originally intended to authenticate high-profile accounts like politicians, famous personalities, journalists, and other public figures.

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