Mehul Reuben DasDec 01, 2022 18:06:32 IST
The European Union may ban Twitter across the continent if Elon Musk and his team continue to ignore content moderation on the platform. Elon Musk and his team maintain that they have made no changes to the content moderation policies that Twitter had, and while this is true, there is also the fact that there is hardly anyone left to implement those policies. Instead of rewriting the COVID misinformation policy, Twitter just stopped enforcing it.
What is even more worrying is that Musk doesn’t seem to care a lot about content moderation – at least his actions tell us so.
Recently, he reinstated a number of previously banned profiles and accounts. Following that, he set out a plan of reversing the ban on all controversial figures who were barred from the platform, as long as they did not commit a crime that led to the suspension of their accounts.
And to top it all off, it took a major step back in content moderation by deciding to stop labelling posts with a badge that spread misinformation about the COVID pandemic. “Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter is no longer enforcing the COVID-19 misleading information policy,” Twitter said.
EU Commissioner Thierry Breton warned Musk about complying with European Commission rules in a video meeting. “There is still huge work ahead, as Twitter will have to implement transparent user policies, significantly reinforce content moderation and protect freedom of speech, tackle disinformation with resolve, and limit targeted advertising,” Breton told Musk.
“Musk and Breton agreed the EU will carry out a ‘stress test’ at Twitter’s headquarters in early 2023 to assess Twitter’s compliance with EU rules,” Reuters wrote.
According to the Financial Times, “Breton told Musk that Twitter must adhere to a checklist of rules, including ditching an ‘arbitrary’ approach to reinstating banned users, pursuing disinformation ‘aggressively’ and agreeing to an ‘extensive independent audit’ of the platform by next year.”
“Musk was warned that unless he stuck to those rules Twitter risked infringing the EU’s new Digital Services Act, a new law that sets the global standard for how Big Tech must police content on the Internet. Breton reiterated Twitter could face a Europe-wide ban or fines of up to 6 per cent of global turnover if it breached the law,” the article added.
One major reason why Twitter is having so many issues around content moderation has to do with the fact that there is hardly anybody left to moderate content.
“Our Trust & Safety team continues its diligent work to keep the platform safe from hateful conduct, abusive behavior, and any violation of Twitter’s rules. The team remains strong and well-resourced, and automated detection plays an increasingly important role in eliminating abuse,” the company said. And while they may maintain, firing over 4000 contractual content moderators and forcing the exits of over half of other employees, including people who led the content moderation operations and teams, surely must have hit Twitter hard.
Yoel Roth Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, who quit right around the time Elon Musk launched the $8-a-month Twitter Blue subscription, has said that mass layoffs and resignations have impacted Twitter’s ability to block harmful content. Roth also said that automated systems that are being used by most social media outlets cannot entirely replace human review and that he doesn’t think Twitter has enough people left at the company who can do that work to keep pace with malicious campaigns.