NEW YORK, November 3, 2022–Twitter Inc.’s new owner Elon Musk promised civil rights leaders he will restore content moderation tools that had been blocked for some staff by the end of the week, according to three leaders who met with Musk on Monday.
Musk made the commitment during a Zoom meeting with the heads of some of the country’s leading racial justice organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Color of Change, and the Anti-Defamation League.
The civil rights groups had raised concerns about Musk’s plans to relax speech protections on the platform and restore the accounts of users who had been removed. Last week, Twitter dramatically limited the number of people with access to the dashboard of tools that allows Twitter’s Trust and Safety team uses to enforce policy actions, Bloomberg reported.
Earlier on Wednesday, Musk tweeted that he won’t allow anyone back on the platform who violated Twitter’s rules until he’s established a clear process, “which will take at least a few more weeks.”
Twitter declined to comment.
ADL’s Yael Eisenstadt, Jessica Gonzalez, head of digital rights group Free Press, and Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, who were among the representatives at the meeting, said that Musk agreed with their concerns about speech on the platform and committed to working together.
During the 45-minute virtual call, Musk, who was the sole Twitter representative, said he would craft speech policies to protect marginalized communities and create more transparency around decisions to reinstate the accounts of people who have been suspended from Twitter — presumably including Donald Trump, though no one mentioned the former president by name.
“He said he would continue consulting with the people of color, religious minorities and people most impacted by hate and disinformation on the platform,” said Free Press’s Gonzalez.
Musk also asked the civil rights leaders to join his content-moderation council focused on handling speech and users on the platform, they said.
Though Musk has offered few details about the proposed council, he has said that he wants the group to reflect a diverse range of perspectives. His invitation to the civil rights leaders signals that he intends to represent the voices of religious and racial minorities, although it’s unclear so far who else he might include from across the ideological spectrum.
During the meeting, Musk agreed to the advocates’ three major requests: transparency around reinstating Twitter accounts, enforcing the platform’s election integrity policies ahead of the US midterm elections and including civil rights groups on the content moderation council.
Eisenstadt, ADL’s vice president, said her group will likely accept the invitation, though several attendees said they will hold off until they get more information about what the council will look like, how it will operate and who else will serve on it.
Color of Change President Robinson said it’s a “really unclear idea right now” and Musk didn’t shed much light on the council’s structure during the call.
Robinson said he told Musk that extremists shouldn’t be included on the council. There are people who have sought “to make some people invisible in our society, to create deep levels of harm, to incite violence,” he said.
“The truth is, no matter what he says on Twitter or at a meeting, it doesn’t really matter — it matters what he does,” said Free Press’s Gonzalez. “That’s what we’ll be tracking.”
Source: Bloomberg wrote the original article.