Yoel Roth, who suddenly resigned last week despite backing from Musk, said the Chief Twit gave his team the job of making sure the platform flagged hate speech following a boost in such posts after he completed his $44 billion takeover.
‘Mr. Musk empowered my team to move more aggressively to remove hate speech across the platform – censoring more content, not less,’ Roth wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times on Saturday.
‘Before my departure, I shared data about Twitter’s enforcement of hateful conduct, showing that by some measures, Twitter was actually safer under Mr. Musk than it was before.’
Roth, however, warned that Musk’s goal to create an absolute, free speech platform could ultimately be hindered by Apple and Google, who might kick Twitter off their app stores over safety concerns.
It would be the latest problem facing Musk, who lost about 1,200 more employees by Friday after they refused his ultimanum to committ to a ‘hardcore’ work environment.
Following the resignations, Musk called on all available coders to meet with him in the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters, with the CEO sharing a group photo of himself and his workforce giving a happy thumbs up.
He noted the companies’ influence as his team would regularly be contacted by Apple and Google reps with gripes over racial slurs and sexual content they would come across on Twitter.
Roth said that the rules of the companies reflect the values of those in power rather than of their users, and touted Musk’s efforts to halt this version of censorship .
Despite approving of Musk’s move to form a content moderation council to guide Twitter’s policy, Roth criticized the CEO’s decision to be the sole person calling the shots, saying it was no different than what Apple and Google executives do.
‘It was for this reason that I chose to leave the company: A Twitter whose policies are defined by edict has little need for a trust and safety function dedicated to its principled development,’ Roth wrote.
On Friday, Musk said that Twitter will be a free speech platform, but that hate tweets will be demonetized and not seen by many
The former head of safety and integrity made waves when he resigned last week despite his endorsement from Musk for reducing views of harmful content in search results by 95 percent.
Roth was involved in the decision to censor reporting on the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop – a decision which the then-CEO Jack Dorsey said he regretted.
His team also saw the banning of former President Donald Trump for his comments following the deadly January 6 Capitol riot.
On Friday, Musk, who describes himself as a champion of free-speech, outlined the company’s latest policy regarding censorship.
‘New Twitter policy is freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach,’ Musk tweeted. ‘Negative/hate tweets will be max deboosted & demonetized, so no ads or other revenue to Twitter.
‘You won’t find the tweet unless you specifically seek it out, which is no different from rest of Internet.’
The Chief Twit added: ‘Note, this applies just to the individual tweet, not the whole account.’