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Musk's X aims to hire 100 content moderators in Austin by end of year

FILE PHOTO: Tesla CEO and X owner Elon Musk attends the VivaTech conference in Paris

By Sheila Dang

(Reuters) - Social media company X is in the process of hiring 100 content moderators for a new office in Austin, Texas that will focus on fighting child abuse content, a goal it hopes to complete by the end of the year, an X executive said on Saturday.

The Elon Musk-owned company announced the new "Trust and Safety center of excellence" ahead of a U.S. Senate hearing on Jan. 31 about online child sexual exploitation. X Chief Executive Linda Yaccarino is scheduled to testify, along with the CEOs of Meta Platforms, Snap, TikTok and Discord.

"The team is currently being built," said Joe Benarroch, X's head of business operations, referring to the Austin office, adding the goal to fill the positions by the end of the year is dependent on finding the right talent.

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Since Musk acquired the company formerly known as Twitter in 2022, the billionaire has been criticized for his own controversial posts and his efforts to overhaul the platform's content moderation policies.

In a blog post on Friday, X said it suspended 12.4 million accounts last year for violating its rules against child sexual exploitation, which it said was up from 2.3 million account suspensions in 2022.

The new Austin center will also help the company fight other types of harmful content, X said.

(Reporting by Sheila Dang in Austin; Editing by Andrea Ricci)