Musk has laid off many Twitter employees in recent weeks. As a result, the platform would no longer be able to moderate content,
Since the takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk, many users believe that the amount of hate speech has increased significantly. The question, of course, is: is that really the case? BBC journalist Marianna Spring spoke to some Twitter insiders to find out.
The research published by the BBC today does not paint a rosy picture of the current situation at Twitter. The main cause for this can be found in the numerous redundancies that have occurred at the medium in recent months. One of the engineers Spring was able to talk to also draws this conclusion: “Everything looks fine from the outside, but from the inside it is clear that the pipes have burst and the tap continues to overflow”.
Since becoming Twitter CEO, Musk has laid off about half of the total workforce. Entire teams were disbanded or reduced in size during those rounds of layoffs. As a result, other employees have to deal with other tasks, which does not benefit the functioning of the platform. A single person now carries out the work of 20 people, according to the engineer. Musk has Tesla engineers come over to review code, they usually get a few days to do so. According to the same engineer, they would have to work on it for at least “months” to understand the code.
Twitter is basically rudderless
There are several mechanisms that should keep Twitter use in the right direction, but they don’t seem to work properly anymore. There is a simple explanation for this: the teams and individuals behind this position no longer exist or have been fired. Parts of Twitter have become rudderless as a result. So is Lisa Jennings Young, former head of content design. Her team helped develop the ‘nudge’: a notification you receive for posting a tweet that may come across as offensive. Research by Twitter shows that the ‘nudge’ is an efficient tool: many users do not post their post if they first get the notification. However, the feature doesn’t always seem to work properly: Spring managed to send out a tweet urging Twitter employees to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge.
Three times the hate
Spring’s empirical research also shows that more users are experiencing hate speech. For example, she interviews a rape victim who suddenly saw a lot of hateful reactions under hate tweets. Among her own tweets, Spring also noted an increase in hate comments. The International Center for Journalists and the University of Sheffield calculated that Spring has received three times as much hate speech since Musk took over Twitter.
There was no response to the BBC inquiry from the social media website – at least not if you read it personal Twitter account from Musk does not count. He sarcastically apologized for turning Twitter, once a “paradise on the internet,” into a place of trolls.