Yoel Roth, former Twitter employee on why Musk’s Twitter can’t work

A former Twitter employee has provided perhaps the most in-depth look at the Elon Musk acquisition, detailing why he left a top job and sharing some parting thoughts on the platform’s new direction after the tech billionaire took over the reins.

Yoel Roth, a former head of Twitter’s trust and security team who left the company of his own volition, recently commented in the New York Times Details on his exit and sharing an interesting prediction for the platform.

He explained his team’s role is to design the rules of Twitter and apply them consistently to hundreds of millions of tweets every day.

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“In my more than seven years with the company, we’ve uncovered government-backed troll farms that meddled in elections, introduced new tools to contextualize dangerous misinformation, and, yes, banned President Trump from the service,” Roth said.

“Cornell professor Tarleton Gillespie called teams like mine the “governors of the internet”.

“The work of online hygiene is relentless and controversial.”

Roth continued to recount his brief stint at Post-Musk Twitter.

“Since the deal closed on 10/27‌, many of the changes introduced by Mr. Musk and his team have been sudden and alarming to employees and users alike, including snap layoffs and an ill-fated attempt to reinvent Twitter’s verification system,” he wrote.

Before and during the acquisition, Musk emphasized the importance of “freedom of speech for democracy” and praised Twitter as “a digital town square where important matters affecting the future of humanity are discussed,” which many believed meant relaxed rules and content moderation.

But Roth said despite recent office closures, more resignations, the trend of #RIPTwitter, and whether or not Musk’s “skeleton crew” could stabilize the platform, content moderation has remained “largely the same” since the acquisition.

“Twitter’s rules continue to prohibit a wide range of ‘lawful but terrible’ statements,” Roth said.

“Mr Musk has publicly insisted that the company’s practices and policies remain unchanged.

“Are we just getting started – or has the self-proclaimed absolutist of free speech changed his mind?

“The truth is that even Elon Musk’s brand of radical transformation has unavoidable limitations.”

One of several binding clauses, Roth said, would keep advertisers – who generate 90 percent of the platform’s revenue – on the site.

“Twitter has no choice but to act in a way that doesn’t compromise the revenue streams that keep the lights on. This has already proven challenging,” Roth speculated, claiming that a “wave of racist and anti-Semitic trolling erupted on Twitter shortly after the deal was finalized.”

“Cautious marketers, including those at General Mills, Audi and Pfizer, have slowed or suspended ad spending on the platform, creating a crisis at the company to protect valuable ad revenue,” Roth said.

He claimed. Musk ordered the Trust and Safety team to “take aggressive action” to remove hate speech in response.

“Prior to my departure, I shared data on Twitter’s enforcement of hateful behaviors, showing that Twitter was actually safer under Mr Musk than before,” he explained.

“His ability to unilaterally make decisions about the future of the site is constrained by a marketing industry he neither controls nor has been able to win over.”

And Roth said advertisers aren’t the only parties Musk needs to keep happy in his mission to “free the bird.”

“Twitter remains bound by the laws and regulations of the countries in which it operates,” Roth said.

“Amid the rise of racial slurs on Twitter in the days following the takeover, the European Union’s top platform regulator took to the site to remind Mr Musk that an unmoderated free-for-all will not fly in Europe.”

Members of the US Congress and the Federal Trade Commission also took offense at some of the changes.

“Mr. Musk’s policy of aligning Twitter’s policies with local laws could lead the company to censor speech it has been reluctant to restrict in the past, including political dissent,” Roth wrote.

“Regulators have significant tools to get their way on Twitter and against Mr Musk.

“Penalties for non-compliance with Europe’s Digital Services Act could account for up to 6 percent of the company’s annual revenue. In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission has shown an increasing willingness to impose significant fines for non-compliance with its orders (like a blockbuster $5 billion fine imposed on Facebook in 2019).”

Roth also said that Apple’s and Google’s app stores for phones and tablets, which have their own community guidelines, also pose a massive risk to Twitter’s bottom line.

Tick ​​them off or violate their terms of service, Roth warned, and being kicked out of app stores would prove “catastrophic.”

Why did Roth leave Twitter after surviving the job wipeout?

“A Twitter whose policies are defined by unilateral edict hardly needs a trust and security function dedicated to its principled development,” he said.

“To really understand the future shape of Twitter, I would encourage looking not just at the decisions the company is making, but at how Mr. Musk is making them.

“Should it happen, will the Moderation Council represent more than just the loudest, mostly American, voices complaining about censorship — including the roughly 80 percent of Twitter users who live outside the United States?

“Will the company continue to invest in features like community notes that engage Twitter users in the work of platform governance?

“Will Mr. Musk’s tweets announcing policy changes become less frequent and more abrupt?”

Roth believed that one of Musk’s biggest challenges was reconciling his goals with the “practical realities of life on the Apple and Google internet.”

“It’s not an easy task for the employees who have chosen to stay,” he said.

“And by the time I left the company, the calls from the app review teams had already started.”

Another former executive who was recently dumped on the platform revealed internal rumors that a “new vision” could include Twitter hosting adult content for subscribers.

“I left because I didn’t know what to stay for anymore,” said Senior Software Engineer Peter Clowes.

“I used to stay because of the people, the vision and of course the money (let’s be honest). All of these were radically altered or uncertain.”

“Also, there were rumors that the new vision could be radically different. Not just on a subscription basis, but potentially with adult content as a core part of subscription offerings.

“It’s a BIG deviation and one I wouldn’t get over.”

Mr Clowes, who also left Twitter on his own terms, said he felt there was “no clear benefit” to those staying around on the platform.

“So my friends are gone, the vision is dim, a storm is coming and no financial benefit. What would you do?” he asked.

Originally posted as an ex-employee, he reveals three reasons why Musk’s Twitter can’t happen

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