twitter New owner Elon Musk Teams battling misinformation on social media platforms are being further weakened after outsourced moderators learned over the weekend that they were out of a job.
Twitter and other large social media companies rely heavily on contractors to track hate and other harmful content.
However, many content regulators have now stepped out of the gate, starting with Twitter fired most of its full-time employees via email on Nov. 4 Now, as it begins to eliminate countless contract jobs.
Melissa Ingle, a contractor at Twitter for more than a year, was one of many contractors who said they were fired without notice on Saturday. She said she was concerned about an increase in abuse on Twitter as the number of employees left.
“I love the platform, I really love working at the company and trying to make it better. And I’m really scared of what’s going to slip through the cracks,” she said Sunday.
Ingle, a data scientist, said she works in the data and surveillance division of Twitter’s Citizen Integrity team. Her work involves writing algorithms to find political misinformation on platforms in the US, Brazil, Japan, Argentina, and other countries.
When she lost access to her work email on Saturday, Ingle said, she was “pretty sure I was screwed.” Two hours later, the contracting company she was hired for issued a notice.
“I just put my resume out there and talk to people,” she said. “I’ve got two kids. I’m worried about giving them a good Christmas, you know, just mundane things like this, and that’s important. I just don’t think it’s very conscientious to do it at this time.”
Sarah Roberts, an associate professor at UCLA and an expert on content moderation, tweeted on Sunday that “approximately 3,000+ Twitter contractor employees were fired last night.”
Twitter did not disclose how many contract workers it has cut. Since Musk took over, the company has wiped out its communications division and has not responded to media requests for information.
Contractors also do other work to help keep Twitter running,
“All contractors are not content moderation agents,” Roberts said. “Contractors play many key roles within companies. But almost all regulators are contractors.”
In the early days following Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter in late October, dissolve its board of directors and executivesthe billionaire Tesla CEO tried to reassure civil rights groups and advertisers that the platform can continue to suppress hate.
That message was reiterated by Twitter’s head of content moderation at the time, Yoel Roth, who tweeted that the Nov. 4 layoffs only affected “15% of our Trust & Safety organization (rather than roughly 50% company-wide). layoffs), with minimal impact on our front-line auditors.”
Ross has Since resignation from the companyjoins the ranks of senior leaders responsible for privacy protection, cybersecurity and regulatory compliance.
Barbara Ortutay and Matt O’brien, Associated Press
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