Twitter Purges Workers Tasked With Regulatory And Content Issues

Elon Musk’s move to purge Twitter Inc. employees who don’t embrace his vision has led to a wave departures among policy and safety-issue staffers around the globe, sparking questions from regulators in key jurisdictions about the site’s continued compliance efforts, The Wall Street Journal reported.

According to The Wall Street Journal, scrutiny has been particularly close in Europe, where officials have in recent years assumed a greater role in regulating big tech companies.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that staff departures in recent days include dozens of people spread across units such as governmental policy, legal affairs, and Twitter’s “trust and safety” division, which is responsible for functions like drafting content-moderation rules, according to current and former employees, postings on social media, and emails sent to work addresses of people who had worked at Twitter that recently bounced back. They have left from hubs including Dublin, Singapore and San Francisco.

The staff departures come as Twitter holds talks with the EU about the bloc’s new social-media law, dubbed the Digital Services Act, which will apply tougher rules on bigger platforms like Twitter by the middle of next year.

The Guardian reported that Twitter has disbanded its entire Brussels office, according to media reports, raising questions about the social media’s compliance with new EU laws to control big tech.

According to The Guardian, Julia Mozer and Dario La Nasa were in charge of Twitter’s digital policy in Europe left the company last week. The pair had survived an initial cut when Elon Musk laid off thousands of employees following his takeover last month. It is unclear whether Mozer and La Nasa were made redundant or chose to leave in response to Musk’s ultimatum to commit to working long “extremely hardcore” hours or quit.

Engadget also reported that Mozer and La Nasa oversaw public policy for Twitter in Europe. They were in charge of efforts to make sure Twitter complies with the EU’s disinformation code as well as the Digital Services Act. The DSA came into force last week and will apply to companies starting in February of 2024.

According to Engadget, the DSA gives EU governments more power over how platforms moderate content and when tech companies have to take down illegal content. Platforms will need to be transparent about the reasons for content moderation decisions. Affected users will have at the right to challenge moderation decisions if their content is removed or access to it is restricted.

Engadget also reported that if Twitter fails to comply with the DSA’s rules, it faces potentially heavy penalties. Regulators could fine Twitter up to six percent of its global turnover or even ban the platform. EU internal market commissioner Thierry Breton has warned Musk that Twitter needs to abide by the bloc’s content regulations.

To put things in perspective, since Elon Musk took over Twitter, he has reinstated controversial accounts that had been previously suspended, he appears to have chosen to ignore the EU’s DSA, and Twitter’s communications department no longer exists. It appears that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission might be looking into the situation. In general, it is unwise to make changes to your newly purchased social media company that quickly attract the attention of regulators.