Elon Musk responds with mockery to report about abuse on Twitter
Twitter owner Elon Musk has responded with mockery to a BBC investigation which said the social media platform is struggling to protect users from online abuse and child sexual exploitation, among other things.
In a message posted to the site the entrepreneur apologised “for turning Twitter from nurturing paradise into place that has … trolls.”
He also responded to a user who said that before Mr Musk’s takeover of the platform no one had ever said anything mean to them. “It was a beautiful utopia. Now I fear for my life daily,” the user said.
In response Mr Musk wrote: “Literally roflmao” – short for rolling on the floor laughing my ass off.
Literally roflmao …
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 6, 2023
The BBC Panorama report cited figures from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue think tank which showed that tens of thousands of new accounts have popped up and immediately followed known abusive and misogynistic profiles since Mr Musk took over.
The figures were 69% higher than before he was in charge, suggesting a “permissive environment,” the report claimed.
The BBC cited Lisa Jennings Young, a former head of content design at Twitter, who said that before the takeover the platform was trying to crack down on trolling, which was widespread on Twitter.
“It was not at all perfect. But we were trying, and we were making things better all the time,” she said.
Ray Serrato, a former Twitter worker who tackled state-sponsored disinformation, said that the team he used to work for had been “decimated” and only has minimised capacity today.
He said: “Twitter might have been the refuge where journalists would go out and have their voice be heard and be critical of the government. But I’m not sure that’s going to be the case anymore.”
“There are a number of key experts that are no longer in that team that would have covered special regions, or threat actors, from Russia to China.”
Another anonymous source told the BBC that the drain of expertise from Twitter said that the team of 20 people who used to work on tackling child sexual exploitation had been cut to just six or seven.