The European Union (EU) has told billionaire Elon Musk to hire more staff for content moderation on Twitter, according to a report by The Financial Times.
The report, citing informed sources, suggests talks between Musk, Twitter executives and regulators concerning moderation of content on the troubled platform. Musk has been urged to recruit more moderators and fact-checkers to review content on Twitter.
The regulatory move arrives days after Twitter reportedly laid off 200 more workers as part of Musk’s cost-cutting measures.
Since the billionaire’s high-profile $44 billion acquisition in October 2022, Twitter has undergone massive staff reductions and sweeping structural changes. The billionaire has reportedly brought down the total number of employees to roughly below 2,000 from 7,500, leaving a number of crucial offices vacant.
The drastic organizational changes have resulted in the departure of key content moderation teams, including the trust and safety and accountability teams. According to reports, Twitter currently relies heavily on automated mechanisms for content moderation like other platforms, but it does not have enough fact-checkers for effective and timely moderation. This has raised concerns about the rise in potentially harmful content across the social media platform, which has witnessed a “dramatic surge” in hate speech, harassment and racial abuse as established by recent research.
Musk, on the other hand, has repeatedly claimed a decline in hate speech on Twitter following his takeover. His words have done little to allay the concerns of advertisers and online safety advocates, however.
Musk’s chaotic management of Twitter has turned the company upside down. Many components of his vision for “Twitter 2.0” have yielded disastrous outcomes, including paid verification badges. Musk’s blue checkmarks on sale exploded into a swarm of imposter accounts and cost some businesses millions of dollars. The service had to be rolled back before it was relaunched with adequate measures in place to counter potential damages.
With the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) set to roll out in 2024, large social media companies will be obliged to act more responsibly in terms of content moderation and consumer safety. The EU already took note of Twitter’s deficient efforts to counter disinformation in February, urging the company to take concrete measures to contain harm on the platform.