United Nations (UN) officials have voiced their voice over Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter in an open letter.
The open letter was released by Volker Turk, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. He urged Musk to manage Twitter by ensuring the implementation of human rights.
This letter was released following news of the sacking of the entire human rights team on Twitter and all but two of the artificial intelligence ethics team, which Turk said was not a happy start.
Citing a press release on the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner’s website, Sunday (6/11/2022), Turk considered Twitter to be part of a global revolution that has changed the way we communicate.
“But I am writing with concern and concern about our digital public square and Twitter’s role in it,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said.
He also reminded that Twitter needs to understand the dangers associated with its platform and take steps to address them.
“Respect for our common human rights must set a guardrail for the use and evolution of the platform,” he said.
“In short, I urge you to ensure human rights are central to Twitter’s management under your leadership,” the High Commissioner said.
Turk also provides six basic principles based on a human rights perspective that Twitter should put forward.
First, Twitter was asked to protect free speech around the world. Turk called on the platform to defend the right to privacy and freedom of expression to the fullest extent possible, under the relevant rules.
Twitter is also asked to transparently report if there are requests from the government that will violate these rights.
Second, Twitter is also reminded about not liberating everything in the name of freedom of speech. Turk gave an example of the spread of disinformation during the Covid-19 vaccine-related pandemic, causing losses in the real world.
Third, Turk urged Twitter to avoid hate that incites discrimination, hostility or violence. He emphasized that the platform must have a content moderation policy that continues to prohibit this kind of hate.
“Human rights law is clear – freedom of expression stops at hatred that fuels discrimination, hostility or violence,” he said.
Fourth, Turk asks Twitter to be transparent by maintaining access to Twitter data through open application programming interfaces (APIs).
Fifth, Twitter is asked to protect privacy. According to Turk, free speech depends on effective privacy protection.
The platform is asked to protect itself from invasive user tracking and collection of related data and to refuse, to the extent possible in compliance with applicable regulations, unwarranted requests from governments for user data.
Lastly, Twitter is asked to maintain a rights-respecting and secure platform, not only for English-language content but globally.
Twitter itself is rumored to have just made a large layoff of half of its workforce. But the company ensures, the company’s “core moderation capabilities” are still there.
Yoel Roth, the company’s head of security and integrity, claiming layoffs affected about 15 percent of Twitter’s Trust and Safety, and claimed frontline moderation staff were the least affected.
After owning Twitter, Elon Musk reportedly wants to form a moderation board. Quoted from Engadget, Saturday (10/29/2022), Musk revealed the plan through a tweet on his Twitter account.
He wrote, this content moderation board will consist of various points of view.
“Twitter will set up a content moderation board with diverse viewpoints. No major decisions regarding content or account restoration take place before the board convenes,” he wrote on his @elonmusk account.
However, Elon Musk did not reveal more details about the formation of this content moderation board. Likewise with the names that will be included in this council.
To note, Musk has long had plans to change Twitter’s moderation policy. One of the highlights was when Twitter permanently banned Donald Trump from having an account on the platform.
Therefore, it is possible that under Elon Musk, Twitter will make changes to its content moderation policy. However, what kind of changes will be brought is not yet known.
However, Roth noted recently that so far, “Twitter’s strong commitment to content material moderation has remained virtually unchanged.”