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Elon Musk dissolves Twitter's censorship council
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Elon Musk dissolves Twitter's censorship council

Twitter axed its so-called Trust and Safety Council on Monday night.

Leftist elements of the defunct council have denounced the move and joined the chorus of critics opposed to Twitter's apparent embrace of Elon Musk's "free speech absolutist" ideals.

The dissolution of the council comes just days after three of its members, including the niece of Biden official John Podesta, resigned, citing as partial cause their opposition to the restoration of banned accounts belonging to conservatives such as former President Donald Trump.

Thanks but no thanks

Trust and Safety Council members received an email signed "Twitter" on Monday that said, "As Twitter moves into a new phase, we are reevaluating how best to bring external insights into our product and policy development."

Evidently, the best way forward was without the meddling council's direct involvement.

The letter noted that Twitter will "continue to welcome your ideas going forward" and "will also continue to explore opportunities to provide focused and timely input into our work, whether through bilateral or small group meetings."

An archived version of the council's now-defunct "About" page describes the council as "a group of independent expert organizations from around the world. Together, they advocate for safety and advise us as we develop our products, programs, and rules."

The so-called expert groups that provided the council with counsel included the Anti-Defamation League, the LGBT activist group Black Rainbow, Feminist Frequency, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Muslim Advocates, and the United Nations' Association for Progressive Communications.

The group's purported areas of focus included "Online Safety and Harassment, Human and Digital Rights, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health, Child Sexual Exploitation, and Dehumanization."

How dare he!

Alex Holmes, now a former member of the council and a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation advisory board member, took to Twitter to lament, writing, "Many of us have been in this space for a number of years, each with different expertise, but all with a passion to see healthy and diverse conversations and safety exist on platforms."

"The way this has unfolded and way members have been treated is unfortunate and unacceptable," Holmes added.

The Washington Post reported that the council was set to meet virtually to discuss recent developments when it learned that it had been disbanded.

Larry Magid, chief executive at the Silicon Valley nonprofit ConnectSafely, was on the board as of Monday. He told the Post, "By disbanding it, we got fired instead of quit."

Members Eirliani Abdul Rahman, Anne Collier, and Lesley Podesta saved Musk three emails by resigning last week, claiming "the safety and wellbeing of Twitter's users are on the decline."

Rahman alleged in a statement that slurs against black Americans and gay men jumped since Musk's takeover and that anti-Semitism was on the rise.

"Another red line for me was when previously banned accounts such as those on the far right, and those who had incited others to violence, such as then US President Donald Trump's, were reinstated," said Rahman.

While noting that the readmission of the former president and others amounted to unforgivable actions on the part of Twitter's leadership, the trio of quitters claimed that under Musk, Twitter was in danger of losing its reputation as "the platform where anyone could be heard."

In response to these resignations, Musk tweeted, "It is a crime that they refused to take action on child exploitation for years!"

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey suggested that the allegation that the Trust and Safety Council failed to take appropriate action to protect minors was false.

However, Musk doubled down, writing, "When Ella Irwin, who now runs Trust & Safety, joined Twitter earlier this year, almost no one was working on child safety. She raised this with Ned & Parag, but they rejected her staffing request."

Roth on the run

While some council members have gone online to complain, the former council head, Yoel Roth, has reportedly gone on the run.

The Washington Post reported that Roth fled his home on account of Musk drawing attention to his doctoral thesis.

Musk tweeted on Saturday, "Looks like Yoel is arguing in favor of children being able to access adult Internet services in his PhD thesis," adding, "This explains a lot."

In addition to erroneously claiming investigative journalists Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss were conservatives and only later making a stealth edit, the Washington Post claimed Musk had "mischaracterized Roth's academic writing about sexual activity and children."

Even if the trust and safety council hadn't been disbanded, Roth still wouldn't be able to hit Musk with a misinformation label, given that he resigned back in November.

The 35-year-old penned an op-ed in the New York Times on Nov. 18, stating, "In my more than seven years at the company, we exposed government-backed troll farms meddling in elections, introduced tools for contextualizing dangerous misinformation, and, yes, banned President Donald Trump from the service."

Roth, who likened members of the Trump administration to Nazis, embraced the descriptor "custodians of the internet" and claimed the "work of online sanitation is unrelenting and contentious."

Online sanitation, for Roth, has involved taking input from the FBI and censoring the New York Post's Hunter Biden laptop story, potentially impacting the 2020 election; de-platforming the democratically elected president of the United States; and censoring satire he personally did not find to be amusing.

Here is the former head of the now defunct Trust and Safety Council claiming that a satire site's conference of a fictitious "Man Of The Year" award to a biological man "is dangerous":

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