Moreover, social network employees said they could no longer protect Twitter users from bullying or false information.
Hate will take over Twitter. At least it would thrive freely on the social network taken over by Elon Musk in October 2022. much less effective with the arrival of the billionaire.
The English University of Sheffield managed to expose the bullying received by the BBC journalist. A specialist in spreading and spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories on social media, hate messages on Twitter are nothing new to Marianne Spring. However, there has been an increase in recent months. University researchers were able to confirm her impression: the amount of harassment to which the journalist has been subjected has tripled since the acquisition of the network by Elon Musk.
BBC media traveled to San Francisco to find out what was going on behind the scenes. Employees confirm that the arrival of the entrepreneur disrupted the operation of the platform. Elon Musk’s first decision was to drastically reduce the workforce. In total, two out of three employees were fired. Moderation was one of the first services targeted by forced removals.
“A brand new person with no experience doing what more than 20 people used to do. This leaves room for a lot of risk, a lot more risk that something will go wrong,” says Sam, a computer engineer still in office. , on condition of anonymity.
According to him, many functions are “broken” and “no one takes care of them.” He compares the company to a building in which all the premises are on fire, but the external facades look intact.
Sam also indicates a very high level of helplessness. Elon Musk shows no confidence in his new teams. The new boss even asked engineers from Tesla (one of his other companies) to evaluate the application’s computer codes. Then, based on the feedback, he chooses the people he will fire.
Lisa Jennings Young is one of the employees fired by Elon Musk. Leading the design of content, she, in particular, created tools to protect users. With his commands, harassment and hate speech was limited as much as possible.
“It wasn’t perfect. But we tried and constantly improved the situation,” Lisa Jennings Young told the BBC.
Inactive Prevention Tools
Before leaving, the service staff developed a security mode to automatically block accounts or alert them in the event of a potentially dangerous response. This was used to alert the author of a post or reply that their tweet contains terms that may offend, offend, or offend.
“Overall, 60% of users deleted or edited their answer when given the opportunity to do so using this tool. But more interestingly, after they were warned once, they subsequently wrote 11% of malicious responses, ”explains Lisa Jennings Young.
Since his dismissal at the end of November, no one has returned to their duties. She doesn’t know if her emergency project has been continued. According to the tests she was able to run from a personal account, Lisa Jennings Young was surprised to see no warnings displayed when she attempted to post potentially offensive tweets.
Jobs left over from massive layoffs have a very concrete impact on the platform. Growing, anti-Semitic or misogynistic publications are multiplying. Ellie Winslow pays the price. A rape victim while at university, she began testifying on a social media site. Hate speech punctuates each of his speeches. And this despite the condemnation of the attacker.
“The most difficult thing for me is that people say that I was not raped or that I am lying. It’s kind of a second injury,” Ellie Winslow told the BBC.
Tens of thousands of Twitter accounts have been created on Twitter since Elon Musk took over, according to the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a British think tank. This influx was immediately followed by a 69% increase in abusive or misogynistic accounts. For researchers, the phenomenon is expanding. They point to a takeover by Twitter, which has created a “permissive environment” for these users.