Musk's Twitter dissolves Trust and Safety Council

The advisory group — comprising about 100 organisations — had been formed in 2016 to address pressing issues like hate speech, self-harm, suicide, and more

By AP

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Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Published: Tue 13 Dec 2022, 7:09 AM

Elon Musk's Twitter has dissolved its Trust and Safety Council — the advisory group of nearly 100 independent civil, human rights and other organisations that the company formed in 2016, to address hate speech, child exploitation, suicide, self-harm and other problems on the platform.

The council had been scheduled to meet with Twitter representatives on Monday night, but Twitter informed the group via email that it was disbanding it shortly before the meeting was to take place, according to multiple members.


The council members, who provided images of the email from Twitter to The Associated Press, spoke on the condition of anonymity due to fears of retaliation.

“Our work to make Twitter a safe, informative place will be moving faster and more aggressively than ever before and we will continue to welcome your ideas going forward about how to achieve this goal,” said the email, which was signed “Twitter”.


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The volunteer group provided expertise and guidance on how Twitter could better combat hate, harassment and other harm, but didn’t have any decision-making authority and didn’t review specific content disputes.

“Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council was a group of volunteers who over many years gave up their time when consulted by Twitter staff to offer advice on a wide range of online harms and safety issues," tweeted council member Alex Holmes.

“At no point was it a governing body or decision making.”

Twitter, which is based in San Francisco, had confirmed the meeting with the council on Thursday in an email in which it promised an “open conversation and Q&A” with Twitter staff, including the new head of trust and safety, Ella Irwin.

This comes on the same day that three council members announced they were resigning, in a public statement posted on Twitter which said that “contrary to claims by Elon Musk, the safety and well-being of Twitter’s users are on the decline".

Those former council members soon became the target of online attacks after Musk amplified criticism of them and Twitter’s past leadership for allegedly not doing enough to stop child sexual exploitation on the platform.

“It is a crime that they refused to take action on child exploitation for years!” Musk had tweeted.

A growing number of attacks on the council led to concerns from some remaining members who sent an email to Twitter on Monday demanding that the company stop misrepresenting its role.

Those false accusations by Twitter leaders were “endangering current and former Council members,” the email said.

The Trust and Safety Council, in fact, had — as a part of its advisory groups — few that focused on child exploitation. This included the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, the Rati Foundation, and Youth Adult Survivors & Kin in Need (YAKIN).


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