Twitter, under the new management of Elon Musk, has frozen employee access to internal tools used to regulate content and policy enforcement, preventing moderators from being able to censor so-called “misinformation” ahead the November midterm elections.
Bloomberg reports that “most people” at the social media platform’s Trust and Safety team are unable to alter or suspend accounts that are presumed to violate Twitter’s terms of service around misleading information, offensive posts, and hate speech, except for high-impact violations that may involve real-world harm, such as death threats.
“Those posts were prioritized for manual enforcement,” according to sources who spoke to the publication.
People who were on call to enforce Twitter’s policies during Brazil’s presidential election did get access to the internal tools on Sunday, but in a limited capacity, according to two of the people. The company is still utilizing automated enforcement technology, and third-party contractors, according to one person, though the highest-profile violations are typically reviewed by Twitter employees.
San Francisco-based Twitter declined to comment on new limits placed on its content-moderation tools.
Under normal circumstances, Twitter moderators use dashboards to perform actions like suspending accounts deemed to have breached the site’s terms of service. Detection of policy breaches can be detected automatically or flagged by other users through the site’s reporting function but acting on these reported violations usually requires human input.
“Those tools have been suspended since last week, the people said,” Bloomberg reported.
This restriction is part of a broader plan to freeze Twitter’s software code to keep employees from pushing changes to the app during the transition to new ownership. Typically this level of access is given to a group of people numbering in the hundreds, and that was initially reduced to about 15 people last week, according to two of the people, who asked not to be named discussing internal decisions.
According to the Intercept in an explosive Monday report, Twitter executives and employees collaborated with the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to censor the New York Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop under the false allegation that the report was “disinformation.”