Twitter Dissolves Critical Department
Twitter has dissolved its Trust and Safety Council. The group was disbanded earlier this week, shortly before meeting with company representatives. In a memo to employees, the micro-blogging site said it’s reevaluating the best way to bring external insights into its product and policy development. “As part of this process, we have decided that the council is not the best structure to do this,” the letter said via CNN Business.
The Trust and Safety Council was an advisory group of approximately 100 independent civil, human rights, and other organizations. Twitter formed the group in 2016 to address hate speech, child exploitation, suicide, self-harm, and other serious problems on the platform. The news comes as CEO, Elon Musk moves to scrap several existing policies and practices at the social media company. Numerous employees have shared their unhappiness with these decisions.
Last week, three members of the advisory body resigned in protest of Elon Musk. In a statement, they said the safety and well-being of the site’s users are on the decline, despite the CEO’s insistence to the contrary. “Rather than engage with members’ concerns, Twitter disbanded the Trust and Safety Council less than an hour before the call,” a spokesperson for Washington DC-based non-profit, Center for Democracy and Technology told CNN Business.
The CDT added that it has been deeply concerned by the Twitter boss and his blatant disregard for due process, policymaking, and investment of resources to maintain the safety of the platform. Elon Musk responded to the resignations on the micro-blogging site, saying, “It’s a crime that they refused to take action on child exploitation for years!” Responding to the post, former CEO Jack Dorsey said the claim was false.
Larry Magid, a former member of the Twitter Trust and Safety Council, said the disbandment is an indication of Elon Musk’s aversion to criticism. “He really doesn’t want the kind of advice he would get from a safety advisory council,” the Chief Executive of ConnectSafely told the Washington Post. He added that the advisory body would probably tell him to rehire the people he fired, reinstate the rules he scrapped, and steer the company away from its current dangerous direction.
Following the dissolution of the Trust and Safety Council, former member Alex Holmes explained that the group was not a governing entity. “The council was a group of volunteers who over many years gave up their time when consulted by Twitter staff to offer advice on a wide range of online harms and safety issues,” he wrote on social media. “At no point was it a governing or decision-making body.”
Additionally, Yoel Roth, the former head of the Trust and Safety Council was forced to leave his home due to threats of violence that followed Elon Musk’s calls to release internal communications known as the Twitter Files. The Tesla boss released the documents through several journalists, CNN Business reports. His position involved work on sensitive issues like the suspension of former President Donald Trump from the platform in 2021. Once the details of these discussions were made public, Roth has been the subject of criticism and threats.