updates from OCN,
After billionaire Elon Musk disbanded entire teams following mass layoffs, there are fears hate speech and misinformation will spike ahead of the US midterm elections, experts have warned. to The Guardian news agency.
Elon Musk got rid of 50% of Twitter’s total workforce, which stands at around 3,700 employees. The reason for concern is that most of the staff in the company’s security and disinformation teams have been fired.
Speaking to the Guardian, New York University disinformation and fake news expert Paul Barrett said that this internal chaos and the sudden lack of personnel who tackled disinformation created ideal conditions for electoral disinformation is growing.
He said the social media giant was in the midst of a “Category 5 hurricane”.
On Friday, Elon Musk and Twitter security and integrity officer Yoel Roth tried to reassure the public. Roth said the layoffs affected about 15% of the trust and safety team.
These teams fight misinformation, and Roth further added that front-line moderation staff experience the least impact. Musk said he spoke with civil society leaders from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and nonprofit Color of Change and briefed them on his plans for how Twitter would continue to “combat hate and harassment and enforce its election integrity policies.”
The ADL and the Color of Change, however, said the layoffs are a betrayal of promises made to them and called on advertisers to stop funding Twitter. This led Elon Musk to respond with a tweet that read: Twitter has seen a massive drop in revenue, due to activist groups pressuring advertisers, even though nothing has changed with content moderation and that we did everything we could to appease the activists. Extremely messed up! They are trying to destroy free speech in America.
The Guardian report also points out that the entire curation team may have been made redundant. The curation team is responsible for adding guides to trusted sources of information next to or below tweets that may be misinformation on Twitter.
Twitter may also have eliminated its ethics, transparency and accountability team. This team is tasked with opening up Twitter’s algorithm to external scrutiny. It is also investigating the amplification of disinformation on the site, the Guardian said.
Experts have told the Guardian that it is not the recall of controversial figures like Donald Trump but the lack of staff that can pose a major problem for the enforcement of existing policies. They told the Guardian that despite the presence of automated systems, humans are needed to detect subtle forms of disinformation.
The infrastructure cuts have raised alarms that the platform itself could face problems as traffic is expected to spike on Election Day on November 8.
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