It’s solely been just a little over every week since Elon Musk closed his deal to purchase Twitter, however the Tesla billionaire has already remodeled the corporate.
He laid off 50% of its workers final week, prompting public goodbye messages and hand-wringing in regards to the service’s future after such dramatic cuts. His takeover coincided with a dramatic uptick in hate speech, and regardless of Musk’s promise to keep away from turning the platform right into a “free-for-all hellscape,” many advertisers fear about how he’ll police the service—notably associated to the U.S. midterm elections on Tuesday.
Now, Twitter’s former director of product administration, says the layoffs might hamper the service’s dealing with of election-related points.
“I actually am involved that it feels just like the drama round company takeover is sucking up all of the oxygen within the room,” Edward Perez instructed Wired in a narrative printed Monday, including that the give attention to the Musk drama “is leading to doubtlessly insufficient consideration on these election-related points.”
Twitter’s civic integrity group, underneath Perez earlier than he stop in September, labored to gradual the unfold of disinformation and misinformation—with the principle purpose of defending the general public dialog on the service about civic processes. As of Friday, Perez stated he didn’t understand how lots of the group’s greater than 100 members stored their positions.
Chopping the corporate’s workers by half, days earlier than midterms, could depart too few individuals to do the “very complicated work” wanted forward of elections—and that it’s arduous to think about that the layoffs gained’t have a “materials influence,” he stated.
“It’s not completely clear to me—notably within the political context—that Elon Musk totally understands the diploma of social duty that rests on his shoulders, and the very actual hurt, political hurt, political violence, and division that may come from social media platforms,” Perez stated.
After the job cuts, he’s not sure there are sufficient individuals left to research what Twitter’s machine learning-based policing system is detecting, if these fashions will work to establish dangerous phrases in posts, or if they may flag questionable content material.
“I don’t know the reply to all of that,” he stated. “Nevertheless it definitely doesn’t look good while you’re slicing 50 p.c of very proficient staff,” he stated.
Perez added that the issue with the workers cuts prolong far past election day on Nov. 8.
“It’s a very, very difficult and sophisticated drawback to attempt to mitigate the dangerous results of all that disinformation,” Perez stated. “And I can not consider a worse time for Elon Musk to chop off Twitter’s sources on the knees.”
As for Musk, on Monday, he gave his nearly-115 million Twitter followers his suggestion about which political celebration to vote for.
“Shared energy curbs the worst excesses of each events, subsequently I like to recommend voting for a Republican Congress, on condition that the Presidency is Democratic,” he said, addressing “independent-minded voters.”
Twitter didn’t instantly reply to Fortune’s request for remark.
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