Devastating cuts to Twitter’s workforce on Friday, four days before the midterm elections, are fueling anxieties among political campaigns and election offices that have counted on the social network’s staff to help them combat violent threats and viral lies.
The mass layoffs Friday gutted teams devoted to combating election misinformation, adding context to misleading tweets and communicating with journalists, public officials and campaign staff.
The layoffs included a number of people who were scheduled to be on call this weekend and early next week to monitor for signs of foreign disinformation, spam and other problematic content around the election, one former employee told The Washington Post. As of Friday morning, employee access to internal tools used for content moderation continued to be restricted, limiting staff’s ability to respond to misinformation.
Twitter had become one of America’s most influential platforms for spreading accurate voting information, and the days before elections have often been critical moments where company and campaign officials kept up a near-constant dialogue about potential risks.
But a representative from one of the national party committees said they are seeing hours-long delays in responses from their contacts at Twitter, raising fears of the toll workplace chaos and sudden terminations is taking on the platform’s ability to quickly react to developments. [Continue reading…]