Twitter limits some content moderation tools just days before the midterms

Days after Elon Musk took over Twitter and just before the midterms in America, the social media site has limited some content moderation tools.

It may hamper staff’s ability to stop misinformation, as they will not be able to manually change or punish accounts.

The change is the latest implemented by Musk and comes after he made significant staff cuts and fired the Twitter board, making himself the sole member.

He is also reportedly considering other major new ideas, including charging $20 a month for verification. 

Those working in Twitter’s Trust and Safety organization are currently unable to alter or punish accounts breaking the platform’s rules on misleading information, offensive posts and hate speech.

According to insiders on the matter, they can only penalize people making posts that violate Twitter rules to the extent of real-world harm, according to Bloomberg.

They added that the team were manually enforcing those posts. 

The change is the latest implemented by Musk and comes after he made significant staff cuts and fired the Twitter board, making himself the sole member

The change is the latest implemented by Musk and comes after he made significant staff cuts and fired the Twitter board, making himself the sole member

The change is the latest implemented by Musk and comes after he made significant staff cuts and fired the Twitter board, making himself the sole member

At Twitter, staff have dashboards, called agent tools, in order to ban or suspend accounts that have breached policy (file image)

At Twitter, staff have dashboards, called agent tools, in order to ban or suspend accounts that have breached policy (file image)

At Twitter, staff have dashboards, called agent tools, in order to ban or suspend accounts that have breached policy (file image)

At Twitter, staff have dashboards, called agent tools, in order to ban or suspend accounts that have breached policy.   

Policy breaches can be detected automatically or flagged by other Twitter users.

However, only Twitter employees can remove or suspend accounts by using the dashboard. 

But the tools have been out of use since last week, according to insiders. 

It is alleged that this restriction has been put in place as Twitter transitions to Musk ownership in a bid to stop changes to the app being asked for by employees. 

Sources at the company who asked to remain anonymous revealed that the high level of access to the tools given to employees has dropped from in the hundreds to just 15.

Sources at the company who asked to remain anonymous revealed that the high level of access to the tools given to employees has dropped from in the hundreds to just 15

Sources at the company who asked to remain anonymous revealed that the high level of access to the tools given to employees has dropped from in the hundreds to just 15

Sources at the company who asked to remain anonymous revealed that the high level of access to the tools given to employees has dropped from in the hundreds to just 15

Fears are growing that it will be harder to apply Twitter policies and filter out misinformation as the US creeps ever closer to the midterms on November 8. 

Employees on the team have to enforce misinformation and civic integrity policies. These rules were routinely violated by former President Trump in the run up to the 2020 elections and afterward, according to Twitter. 

It comes after misinformation messaging on the site during the Brazil presidential election, which finished yesterday and saw left-wing Lula voted back in. 

The team had limited access to the internal tools for moderation. Twitter uses automated enforcement technology and third-party contractors.

But high level violations are usually reviewed by those working for Twitter, according to insiders.  

What are Twitter’s options when posts violate the rules? 

Tweet-level enforcement including: 

Labeling a tweet that may include disputed or misleading information

Limiting tweet visibility

Requiring tweet removal

Hiding a violating tweet while awaiting its removal

Direct message level enforcement:

Stopping conversations between a reported violator and the reporter’s account 

Placing a direct message behind a notice 

Account level enforcement: 

Requiring media or profile edits

Placing an account in read-only mode

Verifying account ownership

Permanent suspension 

Source: Twitter  

Dailymail.com has contacted Twitter for comment. 

Yoel Roth, the head of safety and integrity, tweeted about the story: ‘This is exactly what we (or any company) should be doing in the midst of a corporate transition to reduce opportunities for insider risk. We’re still enforcing our Twitter rules at scale.’  

It comes in the days since billionaire Musk finalized his deal to privatize the social media platform. 

Twitter staff are concerned about other potential changes to the platform, including rolling back data access for researchers and academics and dealing with foreign influence operations.   

Musk’s takeover came as there was a spike in hate speech on Twitter. Data from Dataminr revealed that there was a 1,700 percent spike in usage of racial slurs.

It was the equivalent to 215 times every five minutes at its peak and occurred during a period when the Trust team had no access to enforce moderation policies. 

In direct response to the slurs, Roth yesterday tweeted about the issue.

He said that ‘very few people’ see the content on Twitter and added: ‘Since Saturday, we’ve been focused on addressing the surge in hateful conduct on Twitter. We’ve made measurable progress, removing more than 1500 accounts and reducing impressions on this content to nearly zero,’ 

It was described as a ‘focused, short-term trolling campaign’ by Roth.

Although Musk has said that he has made no changes to content moderation policies, he has said he thinks rules on Twitter are restrictive.

And he described himself as a free-speech absolutist, reportedly questioning policies while speaking to staff.

Musk is set to review the general misinformation policy in place at Twitter. 

Twitter’s policy penalizes posts including falsehoods about topics such as election outcomes and Covid. 

In direct response to the racial slurs which spiked in number over the weekend on the platform, Yoel Roth, the head of safety and integrity, pictured, yesterday tweeted about the issue. He said that 'very few people' see the content on Twitter

In direct response to the racial slurs which spiked in number over the weekend on the platform, Yoel Roth, the head of safety and integrity, pictured, yesterday tweeted about the issue. He said that 'very few people' see the content on Twitter

In direct response to the racial slurs which spiked in number over the weekend on the platform, Yoel Roth, the head of safety and integrity, pictured, yesterday tweeted about the issue. He said that ‘very few people’ see the content on Twitter

According to insiders, Musk wants a more specific policy on misinformation. 

The billionaire is also seeking a review of Twitter’s hateful conduct policy.

It is reported that he has asked the team to look into the section on ‘targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals.’  

But it has not yet been revealed if the policies will be rewritten or restrictions entirely removed under Musk’s request.

It comes after it was yesterday revealed that Musk is considering charging a $20 fee for verification per month

It comes after it was yesterday revealed that Musk is considering charging a $20 fee for verification per month

It comes after it was yesterday revealed that Musk is considering charging a $20 fee for verification per month

The new Twitter CEO allegedly issued an ultimatum to the social media platform's engineers, telling them to revamp Twitter's verification system within a fortnight or face the sack

The new Twitter CEO allegedly issued an ultimatum to the social media platform's engineers, telling them to revamp Twitter's verification system within a fortnight or face the sack

The new Twitter CEO allegedly issued an ultimatum to the social media platform’s engineers, telling them to revamp Twitter’s verification system within a fortnight or face the sack

It comes after it was yesterday revealed that Musk is considering charging a $20 fee for verification per month.

He had tweeted: ‘The whole verification process is being revamped right now.’

The new Twitter CEO allegedly issued an ultimatum to the social media platform’s engineers, telling them to revamp Twitter’s verification system in less than a fortnight or face the sack. 

Platformer’s Casey Newton reported that Twitter was leaning towards asking for verified users to pay for the privilege.

The potential move attracted controversy on social media, with author Stephen King tweeting: ‘$20 a month to keep my blue check? F*** that, they should pay me. If that gets instituted, I’m gone like Enron.’

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