EU orders Elon Musk to increase staff for Twitter moderation

Regulators are concerned about the platform’s plans to use more volunteers to monitor content and to use artificial intelligence.

The EU and Elon Musk are at odds over plans to use more volunteers and artificial Intelligence to moderate Twitter. As the EU responds to new rules to control online content, the company is in dispute.

Four people who were present at talks between Musk and Twitter executives in Brussels claim that Musk was told by the regulators to hire more fact-checkers and human moderators to review tweets.

This demand makes it difficult for Musk to reorganize his lossmaking business, which he bought in October for $44bn. Musk, the new owner, has cut more than half of Twitter’s 7,500 employees, including the trust and safety teams at some offices. He also seeks cheaper ways to monitor tweets.

Twitter uses AI technology and human moderation to identify and review dangerous material. This is in line with other social media platforms. It does not have fact-checkers like Meta, which controls Facebook and Instagram.

Twitter also uses volunteer moderators to manage misinformation. However, the tool is not used for illegal content.

Musk also stated to Thierry Breton, the EU commissioner, that it would continue to rely on its AI processes last January, according to people who have direct knowledge of the discussions.

These people stated that Breton advised Twitter that while Twitter could decide the best way of moderate the site’s content, he expected the company to hire people who would adhere to the Digital Services Act.

Twitter released a statement saying that it would comply with all provisions of the Digital Services Act. They also stated that they had many productive discussions with EU officials about their efforts in this area.

The company stated that they will continue to use a combination of technology and skilled staff to detect and remove illegal content. Community notes will allow people to find out more about possible misinformation in an informative, transparent, and trustworthy manner.

The DSA is a landmark law that will require Big Tech companies to enforce stricter policies regarding illegal content. Major platforms like Twitter will be required to comply by September of this year. Breachers could face penalties of up to 6% of global turnover. Musk assured Breton that while hiring may take some time, staff will be available to meet the DSA requirements this year.

Musk tweeted after their January meeting: “Good meeting avec @ThierryBreton concerning EU DSA. Our goals are transparency, accountability, and accuracy in information. @CommunityNotes will transform the former.

Twitter and EU regulators have held further talks about its moderation plans over the past weeks. Officials at the meeting admitted that the community notes model could be used to remove large amounts of misleading information, much in the same manner as editors on Wikipedia.

However, concerns were raised about the fact that Twitter does not have hundreds and thousands of volunteers editors like Wikipedia. Also, Twitter’s record for non-English content moderation is poor, a problem that plagues many social networks.

“Community Notes isn’t a bad idea, but Musk must prove it works,” stated a person who has direct knowledge of the talks.

According to a source familiar with the project, the community notes feature is just one component of Twitter’s larger disinformation moderation strategy.

“Platforms shouldn’t be in denial that cutting costs could lead to cutting corners in an area that took years to develop,” Adam Hadley, director at Tech Against Terrorism (UN-backed organization that assists platforms with online police of extremist content), said. “We are concerned about the message Twitter’s latest move sends the rest of industry.”

According to the European Commission, “We believe that sufficient staff is essential for a platform in order to effectively respond to the challenges of moderation, which can be particularly complicated in the area of hate speech.” We expect platforms will ensure that they have the resources necessary to fulfill their promises.

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