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This is how Twitter fails: racism, copyright, and lack of protection in dictatorships | technology



Twitter’s workforce has undergone a major overhaul since Elon Musk bought the company. The billionaire announced mass layoffs, which he reported E-mail for those affected. Then, he sent another email to the remaining workers asking for their absolute commitment to his project. Hundreds of professionals decided to leave the company at that time. As a result, about 2,700 of the 7,500 workers the company had before it was acquired by the world’s richest man remain today.

A large number of casualties had to be noted. Twitter is still working: the app loads normally, tweets are sent fine, and the service appears to be as normal. But then, I really started to detect some failures. We review some of the most important ones below.

1. Lack of communication

The first of them did not take long to show itself. Elon Musk has included his entire communications team, both national and international, in his layoff plan. The company previously had dozens of professionals around the world serving media and organizations; Since the landing of the Tesla founder, silence has prevailed. Journalists who want to know the company’s version of what is happening have nowhere to turn. Closest to official company statements are Musk’s own tweets, which are sometimes contradictory.

2. Inadequate filtering of racist content

Content moderation is one of the issues that social networks have been dedicating more resources to lately. Twitter is a social network with more than 250 million users, its reach is global and its content is visible to the entire community. This is why it is surprising that racist comments, especially those affecting public figures, remain (and therefore, more visible) on the platform.

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This is what happened as a result of the World Cup in Qatar, in an event that has global repercussions. According to a study issued by guardianThe Blue Bird social network was unable to remove 99% of the racist tweets posted during the week prior to the start of the sporting event. Those tweets included monkey or banana emoticons and calls for deportation.

Musk’s content moderation team took another big hit due to cuts to Musk’s staff. The billionaire has stumbled on some occasions where he intended to automate this task. It has also changed the social network’s business policy: the confusing slogan dictated by its CEO is now “freedom of expression, but not publishing.” For now, his push to reinstate former President Donald Trump, who was fired after the attack on the Capitol in 2021 for “inciting violence.” Musk maintained that he would not make that decision until an advisory board dedicated to these tasks was established, but reinstated Trump without creating that group.

3. Copyright infringement

The complacency in controlling content posted on Twitter has not gone unnoticed. So much so that some people are already uploading entire movies to the social network broken into two-minute segments, which is the maximum time allowed for videos, in topics of up to 50 tweets.

As it was published Forbes Recently, some accounts that upload movies on Twitter have been suspended, while others have been suspended. What are the criteria? Items that spread quickly and thus may come into the eyes of Musk platform employees are removed.

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The system for detecting copyright violations appears to be broken. So all that remains is to manually remove the problematic tweets, which will not be easy given the lack of staff. If full-length movies continue to be uploaded and major production companies decide to act, Twitter could face a wave of lawsuits.

4. Lack of protection in authoritarian states

The world’s most widely used social networks hold highly sensitive data, which, if it falls into the wrong hands, can harm users. Twitter has been very aggressive with requests for information (such as geolocation) and removal of content submitted by governments of countries with authoritarian regimes.

The company sued the Indian CEO in July, deeming the order to close some critical accounts with the government “arbitrary” and “disproportionate,” according to Washington Postand has similar lawsuits in Japan, Russia, Turkey and South Korea.

Twitter had an entire team dedicated to handling information requests. So much has gone from this team, and they were the last bulwark against the excesses of the government.” Axios Someone familiar with this section.

5. Unjustified suspension of the account

Twitter’s systems have trouble suspending problematic accounts, but they also err on the side of disabling others who don’t break the rules. Such is the case of Massimo, the science publisher. Denouncing what happened, Elon Musk himself replied that it had happened by mistake and that it had already been corrected.

6. Fear of increased activity or system crashes

Musk himself does not get tired of repeating on Twitter: the World Cup is an event that generates participation in the social network. More people are tweeted, more content is interacted with. Twitter’s influence is expected to increase as the qualifiers progress.

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Increased activity is what all social networks want. But this can also come at a cost. Activity spikes can cause systems to overheat, which can crash when thousands of users are working simultaneously. The question is what will happen to Twitter if that happens, as there are now far fewer engineers to reset the system. A former employee of the social network has insights into how the platform handles large-scale events guardian That Twitter has a 50% chance of being relegated during the World Cup.

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