Is Twitter still a safe space for us?
Twitter can no longer protect users from trolling, disinformation, and child sexual exploitation following the layoffs and changes under Elon Musk. This has been revealed by some insiders from the social media company.
There is an exclusive academic data and testimony from Twitter users that back up the claim that hate is thriving under Musk’s leadership, given that trolls are now at their peak, harassment of all sorts is getting worse, and more accounts are following misogynistic and abusive profiles.
Current and former employees have revealed that the features to protect Twitter users from trolling and harassment are difficult to maintain amid descriptions of a chaotic work environment in which Musk is surrounded by bodyguards all the time.
The former head of content design claims that her whole team, which developed safety features including nudge buttons, had been terminated. She also decided to resign afterwards. According to Twitter’s internal research, these safety measures reduced trolling by up to 60%. An engineer from Twitter confessed that “nobody is taking care” of this type of work now, giving the impression that the platform looks stable on the outside but on the inside it’s on the brink of collapse.
Twitter’s former head of content design, Lisa Jennings Young, was one of the people who specialized in introducing features that are designed to protect users from hate. Twitter was being trolled for a long time even before Musk took over, but she stated that her team made a good effort in limiting this.
Her team has worked on several new features, such as safety mode, which automatically blocks abusive accounts. They’ve also come up with the “harmful reply nudge” and labels to put on misleading tweets. The “nudge” alert will pop up before a user sends a tweet if AI has spotted trigger words or inappropriate language. It appears that the nudge is indeed effective based on Twitter’s own research.
It is safe to say that Twitter as a platform has become more dangerous than ever. With the proliferation of trolls and disinformation, Twitter users now have to be careful to protect themselves because not even the features of the platform can shield them from being harassed or even bullied.
It seems like Elon Musk has enabled predators and abusers to reign on the platform. At this point, freedom of speech can’t be championed if these abusive accounts are still allowed to post.
Other POP! stories that you might like: