Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Twitter, founded by Elon Musk, has disbanded its Trust and Safety Advisory Group

Elon Musk's Twitter disbands its Trust and Safety advisory group

 WASHINGTON: The Trust and Safety Council, a group of around 100 independent civil, human rights, and other organizations that Elon Musk's Twitter established in 2016 to address issues such as hate speech, child exploitation, suicide, and self-harm on the platform, has been disbanded.

Twitter representatives were scheduled to meet with the council on Monday night. However, multiple members claim that Twitter sent an email to the group announcing its dissolution shortly before the meeting.

Fearing retaliation, the council members who provided The Associated Press with images of the Twitter email spoke on condition of anonymity.

The email with the subject line "Twitter" read, "Our work to make Twitter a safe, informative place will be moving faster and more aggressively than ever before, and we will continue to welcome your ideas going forward about how to achieve this goal."

The volunteer group offered expertise and direction on how Twitter could better combat hate, harassment, and other harms; however, they lacked authority to make decisions and did not look into specific content disputes. Alex Holmes, a council member, wrote in a tweet, "Twitter's Trust and Safety 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." It never served as a governing body or made decisions.

In an email that confirmed the meeting with the council on Thursday, Twitter, which has its headquarters in San Francisco, promised an "open conversation and Q&A" with staff members, including Ella Irwin, the company's new head of trust and safety.

That occurred on the same day that three council members issued a public statement on Twitter announcing their resignations, stating that "contrary to claims by Elon Musk, the safety and wellbeing of Twitter's users are on the decline."

After Musk intensified his criticism of the former council members and Twitter's previous leadership for allegedly failing to do enough to stop child sexual exploitation on the platform, those former council members quickly became the target of online attacks.

"It is a crime that they waited so long to take action against child exploitation!" Musk tweeted.

Concerns from some remaining council members led them to send an email to Twitter on Monday requesting that the company stop misrepresenting its role.

The email stated that the false accusations made by Twitter leaders were "endangering current and former Council members."

One of the advisory groups of the Trust and Safety Council actually dealt with child exploitation. The Rati Foundation, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Youth Adult Survivors & Kin in Need were among these.

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