As the company’s legal battle with Elon Musk deepens, Twitter has reportedly decided to merge two of its teams that are asked to reduce toxic content on the platform. The update comes as the social media company gets challenged not just by potential buyer Elon Musk but also by its former security chief, who alleged that Twitter had misled federal regulators about its defenses against hackers and spam accounts.
With the reshuffling, Twitter’s Health Experience Team — which is aimed at reducing misinformation and harmful content — and the Twitter Service Team — which is responsible for reviewing reported profiles and taking down spam accounts — would be merged into the “Health Products and Services (HPS)” team. The new HPS team will be led by Ella Irwin, vice president of product for health and Twitter service.
Twitter’s efforts were revealed in a staff memo that was viewed by Reuters. In the message, Irwin reportedly highlighted that it is pertinent for Twitter “teams to focus on specific problems, working together as one team and no longer operating in silos.” Irwin also noted that the HPS would be “ruthlessly” prioritizing its projects.
Twitter confirmed the publication’s report in a statement. “Today’s reorganization reflects our continued commitment to prioritize and focus our teams in pursuit of our goals. Stopping bad actors, and creating more transparency around how we support a healthy platform, while also helping promote and encourage diverse thoughts and conversations continues to be foundational to everything we do and how we organize our teams,” the social media company noted.
The issue of Twitter’s spam and fake accounts has been a huge pain point for the social media company and its potential acquisition under Elon Musk. The Tesla CEO had taken issue with Twitter’s SEC reports which alleged that less than 5% of the company’s users are fake or spam accounts. This led to a bitter back and forth that culminated Musk announcing that he is withdrawing his buyout offer and the social media company suing the Tesla CEO in an effort to force him to complete his acquisition.
While Twitter was favored by some analysts and the media to win its case against Musk, the emergence of a whistleblower complaint from former security head Peiter “Mudge” Zatko may have shifted the winds against the social media company’s favor. In his 84-page complaint, the former security chief accused Twitter of prioritizing growth over legitimately reducing spam. The whistleblower noted that Twitter executives were eligible for bonuses of as much as $10 million for increasing daily users, but nothing explicitly for reducing spam.
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