Twitter reportedly makes more cuts to online safety teams

A dozen people based in Dublin and Singapore who moderate content and monitor hate speech believed to have been let go

Twitter has made more cuts to its trust and safety team in charge of international content moderation, as well as a unit overseeing hate speech and harassment, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

The move adds to longstanding concerns that new owner Elon Musk is dismantling the company’s regulation of hateful content and misinformation.

With Musk at the helm, Twitter has suffered a public relations crisis featuring sackings, resignations, tumbling revenues, reluctant advertisers and lawsuits over unpaid bills.

The latest round of cuts affected a dozen people at Twitter’s Dublin and Singapore offices, sources who requested anonymity told Bloomberg. Among them were Analuisa Dominguez, Twitter’s senior director of revenue policy, and Nur Azhar Bin Ayob, the recently hired head of site integrity for the Asia-Pacific region.

Employees in charge of Twitter’s misinformation policy, global appeals and state media were also sacked.

Twitter’s head of trust and safety, Ella Irwin, confirmed to Bloomberg that several members of the teams were removed, while denying the cuts targeted other areas.

“It made more sense to consolidate teams under one leader (instead of two) for example,” Irwin told Bloomberg by email, adding Twitter removed roles in areas in the company that did not have enough “volume” to warrant support.

Irwin said Twitter would continue having a head of revenue policy and a head for its Asia-Pacific region for trust and safety. She also said the company increased staffing in its appeals department.

Musk had been on a quest to overhaul Twitter since his $44bn (£36bn) takeover in October. The billionaire entrepreneur has outlined his vision for a “digital town square” that enshrines free speech and healthy debate. He has also claimed harmful content has declined on the platform since his acquisition.

But researchers and rights advocates found slurs, hateful rhetoric and malicious content to have thrived on Twitter since Musk arrived. While banned accounts belonging to far-right reactionaries were reinstated, several prominent tech journalists found themselves briefly suspended from Twitter last month.

On Friday, NBC News uncovered the existence of at least dozens of Twitter accounts offering to sell or trade child sexual exploitation materials, an issue Musk previously said he would make a priority.

Last month, Reuters – citing people familiar with the matter – reported that Musk had personally ordered the removal of a feature that promoted suicide prevention resources to users who look up certain content.


Danya Hajjaji and agencies

The GuardianTramp

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