The Australian cyber watchdog has demanded an explanation from Twitter, which is owned by the multi billionaire Elon Musk, about how it handles online hate speech.
Twitter, according to the country's online safety commissioner, has become the platform with the most complaints. Twitter has 28 days to respond to the regulator or face the possibility of sanctions in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Last year, Mr. Musk purchased the company for $44 billion (A$64 billion; £34.5 billion) and pledged to defend free speech on the platform. Julie Inman Grant stated that a legal notice was sent to Twitter demanding an explanation after one-third of all complaints about online hatred involved the platform.
Twitter has significantly fewer users than TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram. The company has been given 28 days to respond to the regulator or face penalties of up to A$700,000 (£371,570; $4,300) per day for ongoing violations.
Ms. Inman Grant stated that Twitter appears to have lost the ball in combating hatred. According to what she stated, we are also aware of indications that the reinstatement of some of these previously banned accounts has empowered extreme polarizers, peddlers of indignation and hate, including neo-Nazis both in Australia and internationally.
The proposal is a continuation of the regulator's drive to put greater accountability requirements on the social media business. When sources approached Twitter for comment, the company did not give a statement regarding the announcement.
Ella Irwin, Twitter's second head of trust and safety since Mr. Musk took ownership of the company, left at the beginning of this month. Yoel Roth, who had served in the role before her, resigned in November 2022, exactly one month after Elon Musk assumed leadership. Since the takeover, the topic of content moderation has emerged as one of the most important concerns, and it is the responsibility of the head of trust and safety.
The day after Mr. Musk publicly criticized a content moderation decision, Ms. Irwin abruptly left Twitter, despite the fact that she has not publicly stated the reason why she left the platform. According to him, the choice made by "many people at Twitter" to restrict access to a video following complaints of inappropriate gender portrayal was "a mistake."
Whether or not you concur with using a person's preferred pronouns, he wrote, failure to do so is at worst impolite and violates no laws. Linda Yaccarino, the former director of advertising at NBCUniversal, replaced Mr. Musk as Twitter's chief executive officer just days later.
A week prior to Ms. Irwin's resignation, the social media platform withdrew from the European Union's voluntary code to combat disinformation. Since acquiring Twitter, Mr. Musk has eliminated approximately most of the company's employees, including teams tasked with monitoring abuse, and altered the verification process.
In the interim, advertisers have departed in significant numbers. Ms. Yaccarino is credited with guiding NBCUniversal through the disruption caused by technology companies, revamping advertising sales, and spurring industry-wide debates about data gaps as audiences migrate online in her previous position.