- Members of Twitter‘s Trust & Safety Council sent Twitter leadership a joint letter calling for CEO Jack Dorsey to explain why the council has not been involved with the social media platform’s recent policy and product changes.
- Twitter formed the Trust & Safety Council in 2016, and its members include public safety advocates, academics, experts in media literacy, and grassroots activists.
- Twitter has had ongoing issues with moderating violent and hateful content, and the platform has adopted several new policies for how it deals with offensive content in recent months.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Twitter is being criticised by members of its own Trust & Safety Council for failing to communicate its recent policy and product changes in advance. The security council members are not Twitter employees – the council comprises dozens of outside advocates and grassroots organisations with expertise in public safety, media literacy, digital citizenship, and online community building.
In a letter to Twitter’s staff obtained by Wired, members of the council say that Twitter failed to notify them about the social media platform’s policy changes since the start of 2019. They write that in prior years the council discussed issues directly with CEO Jack Dorsey at an annual summit, and felt confident about their collaboration with Twitter.
“There have been no advance heads up of Twitter’s policy or product changes to the council, leaving many of us to have no prior warning or let alone knowledge when answering press and media enquiries about our role and involvement in the council,” the letter reads. “This is embarrassing.”
Twitter formed the council in February 2016, welcoming more than 40 organisations and experts from around the world into the fold.
“To ensure people can continue to express themselves freely and safely on Twitter, we must provide more tools and policies,” the company wrote in the blog post announcing the council’s formation. “With hundreds of millions of Tweets sent per day, the volume of content on Twitter is massive, which makes it extraordinarily complex to strike the right balance between fighting abuse and speaking truth to power.”
The Trust & Safety Council members said their collaboration with Twitter had been encouraging in prior years, but the company allegedly did not consult the council before revising its rules from 2,500 words to less than 600, or when it announced new policy changes regarding hate speech in July.
The council members who signed the letter to Twitter said they are still willing to work with the social media platform, and requested that Dorsey call them to clarify the council’s role.
“We would therefore like to have a call with Jack as CEO to discuss this further as a council, and understand his vision for the council, as many of us have seen he continues to tweet in replies to challenges from users about the importance and reasons for the council existing. We trust that this is possible in a similar way Jack speaks on earnings calls,” the letter reads.
“We’ve been discussing ways we can improve how we work with partners, experts, and advocates, including having conversations with our Trust and Safety Council members,” Nick Pickles, director for policy strategy at Twitter, said in a statement to Wired. “From those conversations, we’ve heard that one small, centralised group isn’t reflective of Twitter’s role in the world, so we’re working on ways to hear more regularly from a more diverse range of voices. We remain committed to working alongside partners to keep people safe on Twitter.”
To read the entire letter and read more from Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council members, visit Wired’s story on the situation.
Twitter did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
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