Musk has fired or received the resignations of around three-quarters (or more) of Twitter’s employees since October’s $44 billion acquisition. It also terminated the thousands who had been monitoring Twitter for threats and slander.
These cuts were deeper than in North America, where more then 75 percent of those affected. 280 million daily users live for the company Where Twitter already had fewer moderators who understood the local languages and cultural references and where the political landscape can be chaotic and prone to violence.
Musk also welcomed the return to thousands of banned accounts, many of which were suspended for encouraging hate or violence. This even though he had tweeted misinformation and interacted directly with far-right accounts. Staff said that they saw an opportunity and that it was welcome.
This has affected the site’s duration in the No. Japan, which is the No. 2 market, has an estimated 59,000,000 users. This has made the site more dangerous in India (nearly 23 million users) as well as Brazil (nearly 20million), the third and fourth largest markets according to current and former employees, researchers, and other sources. Musk made Brazil his home, cutting almost all of its employees. Uncontrolled increase in misinformationThis fuelled attacks this month on a country government center.
Twitter’s tone is becoming harsher in spite of the fact that English is more widely spoken around the world, according to those responsible for monitoring it. Julie Inman Grant, Australia’s cybersafety Commissioner, said that Twitter was like a sewer in her country, before Musk allowed some of its worst users to return.
Inman Grant, who had written twice about the company, reminded Inman Grant that she could order material abuse to be removed. “I have become an incontinence.”
Tom Rogers, Australian Election Commissioner, said that he was caught off-guard by the stinging attacks against a campaign to register more Indigenous voters to vote in advance of a referendum next year on whether or not the legislature should have an Indigenous advisory board. “We are watching it very closely. This has been a trial run to see what might happen when the referendum happens.
Timothy Graham, a Queensland University of Technology expert in digital media, said that the volume of Twitters from Sydney-area accounts using the most popular gay slurs increased by more than 80% during the last three week of November.
Graham stated, “It’s reasonable for Elon Musk to breakup Twitter’s Security Team and make deep cuts in moderation to affect these trends.” “At the very least, it strongly suggests that Elon’s claims about reducing hate speech are exaggerated. If anything, the trend is increasing.”
Twitter is currently being laid off in Australia even moreIts employees.
There are entire teams that monitor Asian countries, including Japan.
Twitter employees in Singapore and other Asian countries have been monitoring disinformation and monitoring everything, including the war in Ukraine and protests in Iran. They also monitor major elections in markets where Twitter may not be as present. The teams were working to identify and remove Russian misinformation related to the Ukraine war when their computers went down on November 4.
“People who were in the US, because of their location, were doing business primarily with the US overseas, we were doing business with everything else,” said a former employee who worked on disinformation in the Asia-Pacific region, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss matters. There is already latent negligence within the company and it is now being exacerbated.
Pre-layoffs Twitter moderation was particularly focused on India because it was a priority country and because there was legitimate protest. The staff cuts have caused a rapid decline in moderation in the country.
In the past employees could report hate speech or misinformation to the employer. Curators would then remove hashtags that were especially partisan or promote hatred of minorities.
A former employee of Twitter claimed that Suresh Shavanke, a provocateur, could have “definitely” been removed from his November 18th post for violating platform policy.
The media entrepreneur and hardline Hindu nationist sent a wedding invitation to an interfaith pair. It was to take place at a function hall on Mumbai’s outskirts two days later. This just weeks after a Hindu woman was murdered by her alleged Muslim attacker. The boyfriend made national news.
“How is this still happening even after the heartbreaking crime?” Shavank demanded to know. He added the hashtag #lovejihad_ActOfTerrorism – a reference to a common but false claim in India that Muslim men wage religious warfare on a large scale by seducing Hindu women.
Shavank’s post received more than 5,700 retweets, 10,000 likes, and some of his followers called for the cancellation of the wedding. Activists attempted reporting his post by tagging Twitter employees and emailing them, but to no avail. Newsla Laundry was informed by the owner of the event hall that the couple’s relatives were receiving a lot of phone calls. The families had already called off the wedding by evening.
Chavank has now gone one step further and posted on Twitter a new email address as well as a phone number for Indian guides to report on interfaith relations.
Alt News and SM Hoax Slayer were two Indian fact-checking groups that advocate social media and tried to alert Twitter via emails about Chavank trolling interfaith weddings. Nothing happened.
“There has to be someone to decide on takedowns. I’m not sure if they have the bandwidth,” said Pratik Sinha, co-founder of Alt News.
Current and former employees from India expressed concern over the moderation staff’s downgrades as well as the departure of less-known teams that had contributed to the platform’s improvement, including by exposing misinformation.
Alt News’ Sinha said that “they upped our fact-checks many times, when the curation staff was around,” in the past.
During the difficult 2021 elections, Uttar Pradesh, India’s largest state, a staffer stated that Twitter’s content-management team promoted Indian fact-checkers who debunked false claims of ballot-rigging.
This team has not posted anything regarding India in recent months, but fraudulent photos have once more become a problem during closely watched Gujarat elections.
Japan is Twitter’s largest country outside of the United States. Staff cuts and other changes have given the service a new look without stirring passions.
In the past, a small group curated and promoted topics of interests, making Twitter a valuable resource for people to discuss serious matters anonymously. This generated more diverse opinions than the more uniform news media on political and cultural issues.
A review of publications revealed that the trending topics displayed automatically are less about politics and more about entertainment topics.
Users claimed that topics had disappeared from their agendas in the last weeks, including the divisive issue about the US military’s presence on Okinawa and sensitive social topics like infertility or feminism.
Users reported that they don’t see any tweets on issues such as human rights and criticisms of the administration of Shinzo Abe, the polarizing political leader, who was assassinated last July.
Some Twitter users were disappointed, but others were relieved.
“No more trending political topics on Twitter. How peaceful,” one wrote.
Shih reported in Delhi, Miller in Sydney and Maine in San Francisco. This report was contributed by Shibani Mahtani from Singapore and Julia Myo Enuma from Tokyo.
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