In his first public interview since abruptly leaving Twitter, Yoel Roth, the company’s former chief trust and safety officer, said he believes the platform is less secure under Elon Musk. Speaking at an event hosted by the Knight Foundation, Roth replied, “I don’t,” when asked if he still believes Twitter is safer since Musk took over.
Roth’s remarks are particularly notable because he was one of the only top executives to publicly discuss what was happening on Twitter in the tumultuous days following Musk’s takeover. Roth, a longtime member of Twitter’s policy team, detailed the coordination that has caused an increase in racist criticism on the platform. Musk often highlights his tweets and points to his explanations of what Twitter is doing to prevent racist attacks.
But Roth said that while he was optimistic at first, problems with “procedural legitimacy” eventually led to his departure. He noted that Musk has stated that he wants to form a “censorship board” before making major policy decisions at Twitter, but Musk was quick to show he’d rather make the decisions himself.
“He’s going to say things that are consistent with setting up a censorship board, consistent with not making unilateral, erratic decisions, and I’m optimistic about that,” Roth said. “My optimism has finally faded.”
Roth also pointed out that the Twitter Blue implementation and paid verification had failed, saying that his team warned Musk in advance but he chose to ignore their concerns. “The incident turned out exactly the way we anticipated and there were no safeguards needed to address the issue in the first place,” Roth said. in scams and impersonations that occurred after the initial launch of Twitter Blue.
Roth’s comment came as Musk was preparing Verify Twitter Blue this weekend. In his latest comments, Musk has said that there will be different badge colors for businesses and individuals, and that there will be some sort of manual validation process.
While Roth said he doesn’t believe Twitter will have a “spectacular moment of failure” as some former employees speculated after mass layoffs and resignations at the company, he said users should pay attention. Pay attention to key safety features, like blocking and muting. , resume normal operation, as well as privacy-preserving features such as protected tweets. “If protected tweets stop working, run away, as that is a sign that something is wrong,” he said.
He also said that while Twitter could improve its machine learning system, the lack of safety officers and veteran policies at the company would hurt the platform.
“Are there enough people to understand the malicious campaigns emerging on the service and understand it well enough to guide product strategy and policy direction,” he said. “I don’t think there are enough people at the company to do that job.”
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