Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk is further wiping out the teams fighting misinformation on the social media platform as outsourced moderators found out over the weekend that they were out of a job.
The social media giant fired its contractors who track hate and other harmful content on Saturday. Some of the contractors said they didn’t realize they were fired until they couldn’t log into work on Saturday.
Musk’s move comes after Twitter fired many of its full-time employees via email on Nov. 4. About 4,400 of 5,500 contractors have been fired, according to Platformer News reporter Casey Newton.
Melissa Ingle, who worked at Twitter as a contractor for more than a year, was one of a number of contractors who said they were laid off without notice on Saturday. She said she is concerned there will be an increase in abuse on Twitter with the number of employees leaving.
“I love the platform and I really enjoyed working at the company and trying to make it better. And I’m just really afraid of what’s going to slip through the cracks,” she said.
Twitter contractors were fired without warning on Saturday as Elon Musk tried to cut the company’s workforce
Some contractors said they had no idea they were fired until they were unable to log into the company’s systems. Pictured: Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco
Newton said the employees affected are involved in Twitter’s marketing, content moderation and real estate sectors.
“Contractors are not notified at all, they just lose access to Slack and email,” Newton wrote on Twitter. The managers figured it out when their employees just disappeared from the system. They heard nothing from their leaders.’
A Twitter executive posted on the company’s Slack site that a contractor was working on a child safety workflow when they were locked out without warning, according to Newton.
A contractor said they learned they were fired from Newton’s tweets reporting the mass shooting.
“I just found out I was fired by reading your tweets and then trying to log into slack and email and realized it was all gone,” the entrepreneur wrote.
Reporter Casey Newton said the affected employees are involved in Twitter’s marketing, content moderation and real estate sectors
Newton said some contractors were not notified at all
One contractor said he didn’t realize he was fired until he read an inflammatory tweet from a reporter
Ingle, a data scientist, said she worked on the data and surveillance arm of Twitter’s citizen privacy team. Her job involved writing algorithms to find political disinformation on the platform in countries like the US, Brazil, Japan, Argentina and elsewhere.
Ingle said she was “pretty sure I was done for” when she couldn’t access her work email on Saturday. The message from the contracting company she had hired came two hours later.
“I’m just going to put out my resumes and talk to people,” she said. ‘I have two children. And I’m worried about being able to give them a nice Christmas, you know, and just everyday things that are important. I just think it’s especially heartless to do this at this time.
Content moderation expert Sarah Roberts, an associate professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, tweeted on Sunday that about “3,000+ entrepreneur employees on Twitter were canned last night.”
Twitter has not said how many contract employees it cut. The company purged its communications department and has not responded to media requests for information since Musk took over.
Entrepreneurs also do other jobs to keep Twitter running,
“Not all entrepreneurs are agents of content moderation,” Roberts said. “Entrepreneurs fill many key roles within the company. But almost all moderation agents are entrepreneurs.
The move by Musk comes after he fired some Twitter employees via email on November 4
Musk recently tweeted: “Be aware that Twitter will do a lot of stupid things in the coming months. We’ll keep what works and change what doesn’t
In the first days after Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion in late October and fired its board and top executives, the billionaire Tesla CEO sought to reassure civil rights groups and advertisers that the platform could continue to quell hate.
That message was echoed by Twitter’s then-head of content moderation, Yoel Roth, who tweeted that the November 4 layoffs only affected 15% of our Trust & Safety organization (as opposed to about 50% company-wide cuts), with our front. -line moderation staff who experience the least impact.’
Roth has since resigned from the company, joining an exodus of high-level executives tasked with protecting privacy, cybersecurity and regulatory compliance.
TIMELINE OF ELON MUSK’S CHAOTIC ATTEMPT TO TAKE OVER TWITTER
2 April: Musk announces that he owns 9.2 percent of the company, making him its largest individual shareholder
April 14: Musk offers to take Twitter private for $54.20 per share, valuing the company at $44 billion
April 25: Twitter accepts Musk’s offer
April 29Musk is selling $8 billion in Tesla stock to finance the deal
May 13th: Musk says Twitter deal is on hold pending review of bot accounts
May 26: Musk is being sued by Twitter for stock manipulation during the takeover
July 8: Musk says he’s backing out of the deal. Twitter is suing, trying to force him to see it through.
October 4: Musk again proposes to proceed with the deal at the original price
October 17: Proposed trial date in Delaware
October 26: Musk visits Twitter HQ with a sink, updates his bio on the site to “Chief Twit” and sets his location to Twitter HQ
October 27: Musk’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter is finally done
October 28: Musk fires top employees at Twitter, including CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal and top lawyer Vijaya Gadde, the woman responsible for banning President Trump after the riots on January 6 last year.
October 30: Twitter employees asked by Musk to make verified accounts a feature exclusive to Twitter Blue, the platform’s paid subscription service
October 31: Musk confirms he is the new CEO of Twitter and dissolves the board
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