Twitter Not Safe Under Elon Musk, Says Former Head of Trust and Security

Twitter’s former head of Trust and Safety, Yoel Roth, said on Tuesday that the social media company was not safe under new owner Elon Musk, warning in his first interview since resigning this month that the company no longer has enough staff to do security work.

Roth tweeted after Musk’s takeover that with some measures, Twitter’s security has improved under the billionaire’s ownership.

Asked in an interview at the Knight Foundation conference Tuesday if he still feels that way, Roth said: “No.”

Roth was a Twitter veteran who helped guide the social network through a number of watershed decisions, including a move to permanently suspend its most popular user, former US President Donald Trump, last year.

His departure also rattled advertisers, many of whom retreated from Twitter after Musk dismissed a section of staff, including many involved in content moderation.

Before Musk took over Twitter, about 2,200 people around the world were focused on content moderation, Roth said. He said he did not know the number after the purchase because the company register was closed.

Twitter under Musk began to deviate from its adherence to written and publicly available decisions about content decisions made by Musk outside of the party, which Roth cited as the reason for his resignation.

“One of my limitations was if Twitter started to be controlled by a dictator instead of a goal … I don’t have to participate, I just do what I do,” he said.

The overhaul of the Twitter Blue premium subscription, which will allow users to pay for a verified check mark on their account, was introduced despite warnings and advice from the trust and security team, Roth said.

The launch was quickly attacked by spammers masquerading as large public companies such as Eli Lilly, Nestle and Lockheed Martin.

Roth also said Tuesday that Twitter made a mistake in limiting the distribution of a New York Post article that made claims about former Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son just before the 2020 presidential election.

But he defended Twitter’s decision to permanently suspend Trump from the risk of further violence after the US Capitol protest on January 6, 2021.

“We saw a very clear example of what it looked like to go from online to offline,” Roth said. “We saw people die in the Capitol.”

Musk tweeted on November 19 that Trump’s account would be reinstated after a minority of people voted for the move in a surprise Twitter vote.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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