Elon Musk Limits Twitter Moderation Ahead Of Midterms


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Twitter CEO Elon Musk has limited the access of some Twitter employees to content moderation tools as part of his new ownership. The decision comes a week ahead of the midterm elections and it has some, particularly those who support Democrats, to express concern that misinformation could spread unchecked, Time Magazine reported.

Most people who work in Twitter’s Trust and Safety organization are currently unable to alter or penalize accounts that break rules around misleading information, offensive posts and hate speech, except for the most high-impact violations that would involve real-world harm, according to people familiar with the matter. Those posts were prioritized for manual enforcement, they said.

People who were on call to enforce Twitter’s policies during Brazil’s presidential election did get access to the internal tools on Sunday, but in a limited capacity, according to two of the people. The company is still utilizing automated enforcement technology, and third-party contractors, according to one person, though the highest-profile violations are typically reviewed by Twitter employees.

Twitter staff use dashboards, known as agent tools, to carry out actions like banning or suspending an account that is deemed to have breached policy. Detection of policy breaches can either be flagged by other Twitter users or detected automatically, but taking action on them requires human input and access to the dashboard tools. Those tools have been suspended since last week, the people said.

“So @Twitter has reportedly limited employee access to content moderation tools used to enforce its misinformation + civic integrity policies. There are 7 days left until the U.S. midterm elections. This does NOT seem good,” one Twitter user said.


“Sooooo…. The conspiracy theory looks like ‘Elon bought Twitter to deactivate content moderation before midterms’?” another said.

“Elon Musk took down any moderation and allowed MAGA to flood back into Twitter to spread their lies a week before the midterm election day. Let that sink in,” another user said.\

“Twitter limits employee access to content-moderation tools as midterm election nears In less than a week Musk is already destroying credibility of Twitter — didn’t we learn anything from 2016 election & all those fake, pro-Trump Russian accounts?” another said.

Earlier this year when Elon Musk casually hinted that he might purchase Twitter, many people urged him to do so but most likely never thought that he would.

Now, several months later, Musk is sitting atop the social media company as CEO and majority shareholder — but is he done acquiring social media companies?

Maybe not.

Late Sunday, the multi-billionaire SpaceX and Tesla founder posted a tweet that indicated he may be ready to take on the short-form video platform TikTok, which has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years.

His first indicator was a poll he posted to his Twitter account that asked: “Bring back Vine?”


“Vine was an American short-form video hosting service where users could share six-second-long looping video clips. It was founded in June 2012; American microblogging website Twitter acquired it in October 2012 before its official release on January 24, 2013,” says a description of the app.

The Western Journal adds:

Vine was TikTok’s predecessor in many ways. It was a platform filled with often-humorous, short-form video clips of people and animals doing weird and crazy stuff. The platform was all the rage for several years until it was ultimately shut down because of a lack of monetization opportunities and too much competition, The Verge reported at the time.

Shortly after he posted the survey, Musk returned to Twitter and asked users: “What could we do to make it better than TikTok?”

Test your skills with this Quiz!

Conservative commentator and podcaster Benny Johnson was immediately on board with the idea of reviving Vine.

“Yes – please. Creators hate tik tok. Nonsensical banning and deplatforming and deboosting. Tik tok algorithm feeds users uninteresting drivel. Their TOS is spyware. The platform will be banned in America soon if theyre not careful and users will need an alternative,” he wrote in response to Musk’s survey.

Later, he added: “Make it a free speech platform not run by communists. Kinda like you did with Twitter.”