Twitter just laid off about half of its workforce, but the company’s “core moderation capabilities” are still in place, the company’s head of safety and integrity Yoel Roth said in a tweet thread Friday evening.
The layoffs affected “approximately” 15 percent of Twitter’s Trust and Safety group, “with our frontline moderation staff experiencing the least impact,” according to Roth. The company restricted access to some internal tools last week for “security reasons” — Roth didn’t say exactly when, but that would put the timing around when Elon Musk took over the company — but “most” content moderators who did frontline reviews weren’t impacted, and access to those tools will be “fully restored in the coming days.”
Daily volume of “moderation actions taken” has “stayed steady,” Roth said, though only supported that assertion with a vague chart showing the volume of tweets “reviewed and actioned, daily.” Musk made a content moderation assertion of his own Friday evening, claiming that “we have actually seen hateful speech at times this week decline *below* our prior norms.”
However, Twitter has had to “deprioritize a few workflows” like helping with lost password requests and “some” suspension appeals, according to Roth. Twitter is “working to get these back online in the days to come.”
Moderation on Twitter has been a concern in the leadup to next week’s US midterm elections, but election integrity remains a “top priority,” Roth said. Musk, who said last week that Twitter will implement a “content moderation council,” also underscored Twitter’s focus on moderation: “again, to be crystal clear, Twitter’s strong commitment to content moderation remains absolutely unchanged,” he tweeted on Friday.