Does Twitter still have a moderation team? Less than a week after Elon Musk took over the social network, signals indicate that his all-powerful new boss has decided to limit the removal of content on the platform – already widely considered to be excessively permissive – multiply.
According to the American press, the social network’s “Trust and Safety” team, responsible for combating misinformation, hate messages and harassment, has seen its capacities drastically reduced: until the arrival of Mr. Musk, almost all members of the team, which numbers several hundred people, had access to tools for deleting a message; according to Bloomberg, only about fifteen have kept it. A reduction in resources that is all the more significant as it comes a week before the mid-term elections in the United States, a period during which disinformation campaigns are particularly active on social networks.
In parallel, Mr. Musk announced on Tuesday 1er November, a surprising change to how accounts can be “authenticated” on the platform. So far public figures could, by making the request, obtain a blue badge “proving” that it is indeed their official account and not an identity theft. According to the plan detailed by the new boss of the social network, access to this badge would become chargeable, in return for a monthly subscription of eight dollars. The blue badge was, however, originally a security measure supposed to reduce scams and the dissemination of false information.
Mr. Musk demonstrated by example, during the weekend, his conception of what should or should not be tolerated on Twitter: he indeed published a message evoking a conspiracy theory on the aggression of which was the victim, last week, the husband of Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the elected Democrats in Congress. Attacked at his home in San Francisco by a man wielding a hammer and seeking to attack his wife, Paul Pelosi, 82, was injured by the assailant, whose online activity shows that he was violently anti-Semitic and convinced by multiple conspiracy theories. Part of the American right tried to instill the idea over the weekend that he had actually been attacked by a prostitute he had brought home – a theory that Mr Musk relayed in a tweet this weekend, before deleting his post.
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