It Seems That Elon Musk Ignored His Trust And Safety Team When It Came To Twitter Blue

Well, if it wasn’t clear that Elon Musk has really gotten in over his head and is only listening to himself when it came to the Twitter Blue fiasco, this Platformer report that a reader pointed me towards has the inside scoop on what happened with that dumpster fire. And make it clear that Elon Musk is basically destroying Twitter:

Days before the Nov. 9 launch, the company’s trust and safety team had prepared a seven-page list of recommendations intended to help Musk avoid the most obvious and damaging consequences of his plans for Blue. The document, which was obtained by Platformer, predicts with eerie accuracy some of the events that follow.

“Motivated scammers/bad actors could be willing to pay … to leverage increased amplification to achieve their ends where their upside exceeds the cost,” reads the document’s first recommendation, which the team labeled “P0” to denote a concern in the highest risk category. 

“Impersonation of world leaders, advertisers, brand partners, election officials, and other high profile individuals” represented another P0 risk, the team found. “Legacy verification provides a critical signal in enforcing impersonation rules, the loss of which is likely to lead to an increase in impersonation of high-profile accounts on Twitter.”  

On November 1, when the document was circulated internally, Musk was considering a $99-a-year annual subscription for Blue; only later, after an exchange online with writer Stephen King, did he lower the cost. The move wound up increasing the risk for scams, as the desire to make fun of brands and government officials became an impulse buy at $8.

The team also noted removing the verified badge and its related privileges from high-profile users unless they paid, coupled with the heightened impersonation risk, would potentially drive them away from Twitter for good. “Removing privileges and exemptions from legacy verified accounts could cause confusion and loss of trust among high profile users,” they wrote. “We use the health-related protections … to manage against the risk of false-positive actions on high-profile users, under the assumption that the accounts have been heavily vetted. If that signal is deprecated, we run the risk of false positives or the loss of privileges such as higher rate limits resulting in escalation and user flight.” 

The team identified several other risks for which Twitter has yet to identify any solutions. For starters, the company lacks any automated way to remove verified badges from user accounts. “Given that we will have a large amount of legacy verified users on the platform (400K Twitter customers), and that we anticipate we’ll need to debadge a large number of legacy verified accounts  if they decide not to pay for Blue, this will require high operational lift without investment.”

(And this was before the company laid off 80 percent of its contractors, but we’ll get to that.)

The company’s trust and safety team did win support for some solutions, including retaining verification for some high-profile accounts using the “official badge.” 

For the most part, though, the document offers a wish list for features that would make the product safer and easier to use, most of which have not been approved.

It was presented to Esther Crawford, a director of product management at the company who in recent weeks has risen to become one of Musk’s top lieutenants. Musk was briefed as well, sources said, as was his attorney Alex Spiro. And while Crawford appeared sympathetic to many of the concerns in the document, sources said, she declined to implement any suggestions that would delay the launch of Blue. (Crawford did not respond to a request for comment.)

Despite the warnings, the launch proceeded as planned. A few hours later, with the predictions of the trust and safety team largely realized, Musk belatedly stopped the rollout.

Well DUH! It didn’t take a rocket scientist to see what was going to happen with Twitter Blue. But strangely, a guy who launches actual rockets into space didn’t see this coming. Or perhaps Musk simply didn’t care because he is too desperate to make a buck from Twitter. Or perhaps he hasn’t got the smarts to run Twitter. No wonder Twitter is a hellscape that no advertiser wants any part of. And users are running to Mastodon as a result (here’s how you can do that if you need some help running from Twitter). And to add to the list of reasons why nobody wants to have any part of Twitter is the fact that Musk breaks stuff and Twitter is at best on shaky ground due to the downsizing of staff. I strongly, and I do mean STRONGLY recommend that you read the entire article from Platformer. It will show you that Elon really can’t manage Twitter, and this platform is likely doomed to extinction because of him.

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