Twitter's former trust & safety head says platform less safe under Elon Musk

Sad twitter

Twitter’s former head of trust and safety Yoel Roth said on Tuesday that the microblogging platform is not safer under its new owner and CEO, business mogul Elon Musk. Roth, who quit Twitter two weeks after Musk took over, said that he doesn't believe that there are enough employees left at the company to moderate the platform effectively. "You can't rest on your laurels when it comes to that," Roth said at the recent Knight Foundation conference. "You can't automate it. There is no 'set it and forget it' when it comes to trust and safety."

Roth's latest remarks are a reversal of his previous statements. Earlier, he said that Twitter was safer under Musk than it was before.

Roth said that his team's effective handling of a trolling campaign earlier this month was partially the reason for his optimism regarding the platform's safety. However, he eventually decided to leave the company due to a breakdown in "procedural legitimacy." He said that while Musk had stated his interest to form a "moderation council" before making major policy decisions at Twitter, the CEO showed that he would rather make decisions on his own.

Furthermore, Roth mentioned the mismanaged rollout of Twitter Blue and paid verification. He said that while his team had warned Musk that scammers would exploit its paid verification service, Musk ignored their concerns. "It went exactly off the rails in the way that we anticipated, and there weren't the safeguards that needed to be in place to address it upfront," Roth said.

When Musk took over, he made it possible for any Twitter user to purchase a verified checkmark for $8 a month. However, Twitter paused the verification service after people exploited their verified checkmarks to impersonate companies and politicians, and post inappropriate content. In Musk's latest statements, the checkmark program could tentatively return later this week. Musk further noted all verified accounts will be manually authenticated before the checkmark activates.

Roth urged users to monitor if important safety features like blocking, muting, and protected tweets will continue to function as they should. "If protected tweets stop working, run, because it's a symptom that something is deeply wrong." he said.

Source: Knight Foundation (Twitter)

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