Twitter’s decision to lay off its outsourced content moderators comes just weeks after Elon Musk laid off half of the company’s full-time employees.
Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk is further emboldening the teams that fight misinformation on the social media platform after outsourced moderators learned over the weekend that they were out of a job.
Elon Musk takeover
Twitter and other major social media firms have relied heavily on contractors to track hate and enforce laws against harmful content.
But many of those content curators are now out the door, first when Twitter fired most of its full-time workforce via email on Nov. 4 and now as it plans to cut countless contract jobs. Moving on to Melissa Ingle, who worked at Twitter as a contractor for more than a year, was one of several contractors who said she was fired on Saturday. He said he was concerned that abuse on Twitter would increase with the number of activists.
“I love the platform and I’ve really enjoyed working at the company and trying to improve it. And I’m just scared of what’s going to slip through the cracks,” he said on Sunday.
Ingle, a data scientist, said he worked on the data and monitoring arm of Twitter’s citizen integrity team. His work included writing algorithms to detect political disinformation on platforms in the US, Brazil, Japan, Argentina and elsewhere.
Ingle said she was “pretty sure I worked for her” when she couldn’t access her work email on Saturday. The information from the contractor company came two hours later.
I’ll just put my resume out there and talk to people,” she said. “I have two kids. And I’m worried about being able to give them a good Christmas, you know, and unusual things like that, that’s important. I think it’s particularly heartless to do so at this time.”
Content moderation expert Sarah Roberts, an associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles who worked as a staff researcher at Twitter earlier this year, said she believes Saturday night at least Less than 3,000 contract workers were laid off.
Twitter did not say how many contract workers it cut. The company has not responded to media requests for information since Musk took over.
At Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters and other offices, contract workers wore green badges while full-time workers wore blue badges. Roberts said the contractors did a number of things to help Twitter run, including engineering and marketing. But it was the large force of contracted moderators that was “mission critical” to the platform, Roberts said.
Cutting them would have a “tangible impact on the platform experience,” he said.
Musk promised to loosen speech restrictions as soon as he took over Twitter. But in the early days after Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3,55,870 crore) in late October and fired its board of directors and top executives, the billionaire Tesla CEO called for civil rights. tried to reassure groups and advertisers that these platforms would continue to curtail hate and hate-inciting violence.
That message was echoed by Twitter’s then-head of content moderation, Yoel Roth, who tweeted that the November 4 layoffs affected only 15 percent of our trust and safety organization (which is about 50 company-wide). As opposed to percentage cuts), with our front. -line moderation staff are experiencing minimal impact.”
Roth has since resigned from the company, joining the exodus of high-level leaders tasked with protecting privacy, cybersecurity and regulatory compliance.