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Twitter Moving Fast on Moderation amid a Surge in Hate Speech

Approximately 44,000 accounts involved in child safety violations were taken down by Twitter

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Sadaf Hasan
Sadaf Hasan
Aspiring reporter covering trending topics

UNITED STATES: Elon Musk’s Twitter heavily relies on automation to control content, doing away with some manual reviews and prioritising distribution limits over outright banning specific comments amidst a reported rise in hate speech on the social media network.

Ella Irwin, vice president of trust and safety products at Twitter, told the media that Elon Musk, who bought the company in October, was keen on using automation more.

She claimed that in the past, Twitter had erred by relying too heavily on time- and labor-intensive human reviews of harmful content.

“He’s encouraged the team to take more risks, move fast, and get the platform safe,” she stated.

Regarding child safety, Irwin said that Twitter has begun to automatically remove tweets flagged by reliable sources who have a history of correctly identifying harmful posts.

Twitter is also more adamantly limiting abuse-prone hashtags and search results in areas including child exploitation, without regard to the potential effects on “benign uses” of certain terms, she stated.

Irwin said, “The biggest shift is that the team is now fully empowered to move quickly and aggressively as possible.”

Her remarks come as researchers note a spike in hate speech on the social media platform following Musk’s announcement of an amnesty for accounts blocked under the previous management of the firm that had not violated the law or engaged in “egregious spam.”

Since Musk cut half of Twitter’s personnel and gave an ultimatum to work long hours that led to the loss of hundreds more employees, the firm has come under fire for both its ability and willingness to filter harmful and unlawful content.

Musk promised “substantial reinforcement of content moderation and safeguarding of freedom of speech” in a meeting with Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, on Friday.

Irwin claimed that Musk pushed the team to place safety above everything else and to stop worrying about how their decisions would impact user growth or revenue. “He emphasises that repeatedly throughout each day,” she said.

Researchers claim that the number of tweets with nasty content on Twitter substantially increased in the week before Musk wrote a tweet on November 23 saying that the impressions or views of hate speech were dropping.

Research from the Center for Countering Digital Hate revealed that tweets containing anti-Black terms that week were three times as common as they were in the month before Musk took over, while tweets featuring a gay slur were up 31%.

Irwin said that layoffs had little to no effect on full-time employees or independent contractors working on the company’s “health” divisions in “critical areas” like kid safety and content moderation.

She claims that approximately 44,000 accounts involved in child safety violations were taken down by Twitter in collaboration with the cybersecurity firm Ghost Data.

Additionally, Twitter is limiting the use of hashtags and search terms that are frequently associated with abuse, such as those used to hunt up “teen” pornography. She stated that there was no longer any worry over how such limitations would affect the terms’ legal uses. 

The use of “trusted reporters” was “something we have talked about in the past at Twitter, but there was some hesitation and, quite honestly, some delay,” Irwin stated.

Also Read: Netflix’s co-CEO Praises Elon Musk’s Management of Twitter

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  • Sadaf Hasan
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