Twitter advisory board members resign in protest at Musk


Elon Musk

The richest man in the world bought Twitter for $44 billion.

(Photo: REUTERS)

san francisco For almost seven years, Eirliani Abdul Rahman had the short message service Twitter advice on how to deal with hate speech. “Now it’s over,” she told the Handelsblatt. She and two other members have resigned from the platform’s advisory trust and security advisory board.

“In the beginning I still had hopes. But they’re finally over,” said the expert, who is currently doing her doctorate at Harvard University. Abdul Rahman has been part of the Advisory Board since its inception in 2016. Twitter created the body to curb hate speech on the platform. Among other things, Abdul Rahman worked to help the platform stop the sexual exploitation of children.

“My red lines have been crossed,” she said. Elon Musk have claimed hate speech has decreased since he bought the platform, but the opposite is true. “Musk just fired a lot of the people on Twitter who used to take action against hate speech,” Abdul Rahman said.

She also referred to a Study by the non-governmental organization Center for Countering Digital Hate, which specializes in hate speech. According to this, after Musk took over the platform, racist statements increased by more than 200 percent and homophobic statements by almost 60 percent.

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In addition to Abdul Rahman, Advisory Board members Anne Collier and Lesley Podesta also resigned. The Advisory Board had a total of more than 70 members. There was initially no feedback from Twitter on the process.

Federal government monitors development of Twitter

Chancellor Olaf Scholz is also concerned about the development of Twitter. “The Federal Chancellor and the Federal Press Office are taking a very close look at the development of Twitter since it was taken over by Elon Musk,” said government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit in the podcast “Geyer & Niesmann” of the editorial network Germany. When Scholz appeared on Twitter, one weighed up “between the development of the platform on the one hand and on the other hand possible alternatives that could be used instead,” said Hebestreit.

Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil announced his withdrawal from Twitter on Monday. “Lack of controls and lack of verification are increasingly leading to the spread of hate and hate speech, misinformation and conspiracy stories. I don’t have to be there,” said Monday on his Twitter account as Prime Minister.

Musk is in dispute with the city of San Francisco

Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion in October. He had initially laid off around half of the 7,500 employees. After that, there were more layoffs and redundancies. According to company circles, the active workforce is still just over 2,000 employees.

Musk had prepared the remaining employees for long working hours. In the meantime, a number of conference rooms have been converted into improvised sleeping quarters, reports said the Forbes portal. A complaint was then filed with the City of San Francisco because the conversion of commercial space into residential space requires a permit.

The San Francisco Building Authority acknowledged receipt of a complaint and reported that a case had been launched against Twitter. On Wednesday, she also carried out an inspection at the company headquarters.

Musk responded with allegations against Mayor London Breed. “So the city of San Francisco is attacking companies that provide beds for tired employees instead of making sure children are protected from fentanyl,” Musk said. He shared a link to a story from the local newspaper San Francisco Chronicle, which reported abuse of the drug fentanyl among minors.

San Francisco gave Twitter $35 million in tax breaks

Musk was because of his other company, the electric car maker Tesla, already in conflict with the municipality of Alamenda. The location, just a few kilometers from San Francisco, had asked Musk to stop production during the corona pandemic. Musk had defied this and later the corporate headquarters of Tesla relocated to Texas.

>> Read here: Identity crisis in Silicon Valley: “The party is over”

Should Musk move Twitter’s headquarters out of San Francisco as well, it would be a major blow to the city. San Francisco had brought Twitter to the city center with around $35 million in tax breaks. The aim was to develop the city center more. Should the company headquarters disappear now, San Francisco’s prestige project would have failed.

With agency material.

More: Identity crisis in Silicon Valley: “The party is over”.



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