Science

Musk fires outsourced content moderator who tracked abuse on Twitter

New Twitter boss Elon Musk is further downplaying the number of workers grappling with misinformation on the social media platform, who worked on contract for the company over the weekend with moderators that they were out of a job.

Twitter and other large social media firms rely heavily on contractors to track hate and enforce rules against harmful content. But many of those content watchdogs are now out the door, first when Twitter laid off its full-time workforce by email on November 4 and now moves to eliminate an untold number of contracted jobs.

Melissa Ingle, who worked as a contractor on Twitter for more than a year, was one of several contractors who said she was terminated on Saturday. She said she is concerned that abuse will increase with the increase in the number of workers on Twitter.

She said on Sunday, “I love the stage and I really enjoyed working at the company and trying to make it better.

Data scientist Ingle said he worked on the data and surveillance arm of Twitter’s civil integrity team. His work included writing algorithms to find political misinformation on stage in the US, Brazil, Japan, Argentina and elsewhere.

Ingle said that when she couldn’t reach her work email on Saturday she was “very sure my work was done”. The information about the contract company that had hired him came two hours later.

“I’ll just put my resume out there and talk to people,” she said. “I have two kids. And I’m worried about being able to give them a nice Christmas, you know, and just mundane things like that, which are important. I think it’s especially heartless to do that at the moment.” Is.”

“mission critical”

Content-restraint expert Sarah Roberts, an associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, who worked as a staff researcher at Twitter earlier this year, said she believes Saturday night should be at least At least 3,000 contract workers were fired.

Twitter did not say how many contract workers it had cut. The company has not responded to media requests for information since Musk took office.

At Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters and other offices, contract workers wore green badges while full-time employees wore blue badges. Roberts said contractors did a number of things to help keep Twitter running, including engineering and marketing. But it was the immense power of contracted intermediaries that was “mission critical” to the platform, Roberts said.

Cutting them “will have a tangible impact on the platform experience,” she said.

Musk promised to loosen speech restrictions when he took over Twitter. But in the early days when Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion in late October and sacked its board of directors and top executives, the billionaire Tesla CEO sought to reassure civil rights groups and advertisers that the platform was hated. And may continue to reduce hate-filled violence. ,

That message was reiterated by Twitter’s then-chief content moderator, Joel Roth, who tweeted that the November 4 layoffs affected “15% of our trust and safety organization (as opposed to roughly 50% company-wide cuts). With our front-line moderation staff experiencing the least impact.”

Musk warns of possible bankruptcy

Roth has since resigned from the company, joining a exodus of high level leaders Those who were tasked with privacy protection, cyber security and compliance with the rules. Departures include Twitter’s chief privacy officer, Damien Kieran; its Chief Compliance Officer, Marian Fogarty; and its chief information security officer, Lee Kissner.

In a live streamed conversation on Twitter empty space On November 9, Musk tried to convince advertisers that run off twitter, Citing the rise in hate speech on stage, as he took control of it late last month and sacked its top executives.


Moneywatch: Bankruptcy fears report on Twitter

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including advertisers Oreo Maker MondelezAllianz, Audi, General Mills, GM, United Airlines and Pfizer have halted their ads on the platform, leading to a major cash crunch for the company. Hoping for more to come.

Musk on Thursday told Twitter employees to be prepared for “hard times to come” and warned that the company could go bankrupt if it doesn’t find new ways to make money.

Confusion about check mark

On November 9, Twitter placed an additional gray “official” check mark next to certain social media accounts, indicating that the company had verified the authenticity of an account username. However, within hours, Musk scrapped the plan, deciding it would only make Twitter’s dual-class system problem worse.

On the same day, Twitter’s original system of using blue checks to verify the authenticity of an account was called a . was replaced by $8 monthly The plan through which any user enrolled will receive blue checks next to their account and access to some bonus features, such as fewer ads and the ability to tweet to gain more visibility.

Experts immediately expressed concern that making the checkmark available to anyone willing to pay the fee could lead to more fraudulent accounts, misinformation and scams on Twitter.

Those concerns were soon quelled amid a surge in alleged verified accounts pretending to be famous as big companies, including Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, politicians like former President George W Bush, and even drugmaker Eli Lilly. was felt. Users test or exploit Twitter’s new system, A Twitter user named @Jesus also got a blue checkmark.

In response to the rise in fraudulent accounts, Twitter reversed its tune on Friday and Reverted the gray marker to some accounts.

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