Mass layoffs are the source of much of the chaos at the company, according to both current and former employees.
Current and former Twitter employees have said the company has suffered an inability to protect users from trolling, disinformation and child exploitation, a BBC story asserts.
Twitter’s former head of content design, who worked on the microblogging site’s features to protect users from hate speech, said her team was making progress.
“It was not at all perfect. But we were trying, and we were making things better all the time,” Lisa Jennings Young told the BBC.
One of the features implemented by Young’s team was the “harmful reply nudge.” When artificial intelligence detected certain trigger words in a user’s tweet, it would alert the user before they posted it.
“Overall 60% of users deleted or edited their reply when given a chance through the nudge,” Young told the BBC. “But what was more interesting, is that after we nudged people once, they composed 11% fewer harmful replies in the future.”
When Musk took over the company, Young’s whole team was laid off. She chose to leave the company in November 2022.
Young said she does not know what’s happening with the features she worked on.
“There’s no one there to work on that at this time,” she said.
An engineer at Twitter, who was granted anonymity by the BBC because he’s still working there, described conditions at the company.
“For someone on the inside, it’s like a building where all the pieces are on fire,” he said.
“When you look at it from the outside the façade looks fine, but I can see that nothing is working, he continued. “All the plumbing is broken, all the faucets, everything.”
He said not just engineers, but cleaning and catering staff, were among the employees that were let go since Musk took over.
Musk even tried selling plants from the office to employees, he also said.
He described the mass layoffs since Musk bought the company as the source of the chaos.
“Twitter has around 1,300 employees today, per CNBC, from 7,500 in November,” tweeted @unusualwhales on Jan. 20.
“The note is incorrect,” countered Musk in a tweet of his own. “There are ~2300 active, working employees at Twitter. There are still hundreds of employees working on trust & safety, along with several thousand contractors.”
The anonymous employee offered his view.
“A totally new person, without the expertise, is doing what used to be done by more than 20 people,” he said. “That leaves room for much more risk, many more possibilities of things that can go wrong.”
“There are so many things broken and there’s nobody taking care of it, that you see this inconsistent behavior,” he said.