Can Musk Moderate Content Better on Twitter?
5 December, 2022 | Pranay Lad
In a tweet, Elon Musk questioned the prior Twitter moderation of a story on Hunter Biden. However, can he handle exercising moderation?
Political views, free expression, and Elon Musk. Since the appointment of its new leader, Twitter has generated a lot of headlines.
Most recently Musk endorsed the independent author and journalist Matt Taibbi’s account, “The Twitter Files,” in a series of tweets that outlined the reasoning for the choice to hide the news regarding Hunter Biden’s laptop.
These documents—which seem to be edited communications from Twitter employees—explain why the digital titan chose to conceal the Hunter Biden story in the closing moments of the 2020 presidential race.
The thread may be an attempt to validate the political bias that the platform allegedly has before Musk took control. He had stated that one of the key reasons he bought Twitter was to forward his pursuit of “free expression.”
However, this specific support is being questioned due to Ye’s anti-Semitic postings (Kanye West). Ye sent offensive tweets in response to saying he “loved Hitler” in a concert. His account was suspended by Twitter.
The entire story reignites the “free speech” controversy. Even if Musk is all for discussion, it is unclear how the digital giant, which now controls Twitter, will ‘reform’ the platform in accordance with his apparent vision, particularly when it comes to content filtering, which Musk is criticising through the Twitter Files.
What are the Twitter Files?
Three weeks prior to the 2020 US presidential election, in October 2020, a media outlet released an exclusive report that had the potential to be explosive. The article’s headline said, “Biden’s Secret Emails: Hunter Biden was hailed by a businessperson from Ukraine for the “chance to meet” the vice president of the United States. According to an article, the owner of a computer repair company in Delaware purportedly stated that the laptop belonged to President Biden’s second son, Hunter Biden, but that he had left it behind.
The proprietor of the newspaper said that the shop owner had delivered the laptop’s contents.
The emails and documents found on the laptop, according to the Post’s accusations, showed how Hunter allegedly bought and sold influence with Ukrainian businesses. Also reportedly on the laptop was “a nasty 12-minute film.” “displaying Hunter having sex while smoking crack.
Twitter implemented a rule prohibiting users from tweeting a link to the article or sharing it through direct message after it was published in the Post, characterising it as “hacked content.” Additionally, the business temporarily suspended the Post’s account, prohibiting it from tweeting during that period.
Content about child abuse is still easily available using Twitter
Liz Wheeler, a prominent podcaster who bills herself as “unapologetically one of the strongest voices in the conservative movement,” praised Elon Musk last week for purging Twitter of “child pornography and child trafficking hashtags.” Wheeler responded to Musk’s plan to delete hashtags mentioning “child pornography and child trafficking.”
(Children’s rights activists have long contended that these phrases imply the victim’s validity and cooperation and that the content in question should be referred to as “child sexual abuse material.”)
Nevertheless, according to research, Twitter still hosts illegal information in a variety of languages. Search phrases and hashtags that have been historically linked to child sexual abuse material (CSAM) continue to bring up a sizable volume of information that is related to it. Additionally, workers who recently departed Twitter, from the lowest ranks to the executive suite, told the website that it will be much harder to address the issue now that Musk has disbanded the teams in charge of keeping it under control and their institutional knowledge.
There is no longer someone capable of doing the task and an expert in these matters. One team member informed the outlet that the place was deserted.
I don’t see any significant action done by Musk thus far, said Carolina Christofoletti, a CSAM threat analyst with TRM Labs and researcher at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil. She has warned that the issue is “much broader than a collection of hashtags” and “far bigger than ‘easy to catch’ seafood.” She stated that the deletion of a number of questionable CSAM hashtags and any related measures “were all things done under the prior administration.”
She continued, citing a post from Musk in which he solicited public recommendations for CSAM solutions rather than consulting his own team. “He has emptied the kid safety team on Twitter without any risk impact whatsoever,” she said.
She said, “Twitter is exactly like it was, there is nothing new under the sun here,” in a post on LinkedIn.” The study also revealed that the CSAM networks are still active in the same manner as before.
In the meanwhile, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has issued a warning, noting that Musk’s rumoured plans to continue through with a paywalled video feature, similar to OnlyFans, will simply exacerbate the already serious worries about the safety of minors on the site. “Musk cannot address Twitter’s child sex abuse content while developing a new tool that would simply encourage sexual abuse and exploitation on the site, “According to a public statement made by Lina Nealon, head of corporate and strategic initiatives,