Twitter’s former trust and safety chief Yoel Roth said on Tuesday the social media company had never been safer under new owner Elon Musk, warning in his first interview since his resignation this month that the company was no longer staffed. To do safety work.
Asked in an interview at the Knight Foundation conference on Tuesday if he still felt that way, Roth said, “No.”
A Twitter veteran, Roth has helped guide the social media platform through several watershed decisions, including the move to permanently suspend its most famous user, the former US president. Donald Trumplast year.
His departure further alarmed advertisers, many of whom backed out of Twitter after Musk laid off half the staff, including several who were involved in content moderation.
Before Musk took over Twitter, Roth said, there were about 2,200 people globally focused on the content moderation business. He said he did not know the number after the acquisition because the company’s evidence was turned off.
Twitter under Musk began moving away from its adherence to written and publicly available policies toward content decisions Musk had made unilaterally, which Roth cited as the reason for his resignation.
“One of my limitations was for Twitter to start being governed by dictatorial decree rather than politics… I was no longer needed in my role, doing what I do,” he said.
Roth said the Twitter Blue premium subscription renewal, which will allow users to pay for a verified checkmark on their account, was launched despite warnings and advice from the Trust and Safety team.
The launch soon ran into spammers impersonating major public companies like Eli Lilly, Nestle, and Lockheed Martin.
Roth also said Tuesday that Twitter erred in restricting the publication of a New York Post article that published allegations about the son of then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden shortly before the 2020 presidential election.
But he defended Twitter’s decision to permanently suspend Trump at risk of inciting violence after the riots at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
“We’ve seen the clearest possible example of what it looks like to move things from the Internet to the outside,” Roth said. “We saw dead people in the Capitol.”
Musk tweeted on November 19 that Trump’s account would be reinstated after a narrow majority voted in favor of the move in a snap Twitter poll.
© Thomson Reuters 2022