Racist messages aimed at footballers during the World Cup are unlikely to be dealt with quickly due to the recent exodus of staff, a former Twitter boss has told Sky News.
Following Elon Musk’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter, many workers were either laid off by the company to cut costs or left voluntarily.
Bruce Daisley, who served as Twitter’s vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa for five years until 2020, said it could mean “big and, sadly, disappointing headlines” during the Chopped off.
Mr Daisley said that if there were to be a repeat of racist abuse targeting black players after the men’s Euro 2020 final, Twitter’s message moderation processes would not be as prepared.
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“What we might witness in this World Cup is whether it’s England or other teams, we might witness player abuse,” he told the podcast. Sky News Daily.
“And I strongly suspect that there isn’t the team in place now to try to minimize that. So if something bad happens, I think we’ll expect to see some sadly disappointing headlines.”
England men’s players, including Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, received almost 2,000 abusive tweets after losing the Euro 2020 final to Italy, research has found. Association of Professional Footballers.
Mr Daisley, who was based in the UK during his time on Twitter, added: “If you report abuse you want action taken quickly.
“I think if most people knew how few people worked in [the content moderation] team, they would have been alarmed.
“They wouldn’t necessarily feel like the product takes their concerns seriously. Now the vast majority of those people are gone.”
Earlier this month, Elon Musk conducted a poll ahead of his decision to allow former President Donald Trump back on the platform. Twitter, at the time of the ban, said its account was at risk of “further incitement to violence”, following the storming of the US Capitol in January 2021.
Kanye West returned to the platform earlier this weekafter previously restricting his account for saying he would go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE”.
In messages Wednesday morning, Mr. Musk appeared to mock critics who criticized his methods. “Wasn’t Twitter supposed to die now or what?” he posted, followed by “Maybe we’ve been to heaven/hell and we don’t know.”
“Elon Musk’s philosophy is freedom of expression,” said Bruce Daisley.“but not freedom of access. He says, “we’ll leave that tweet up there, even if it’s abusive.” And the end result, I think, will be that we actually see more bad stuff left online.
“It will probably add to the feeling that Twitter has probably become more of an open sewer.”
You can listen to the full interview on Sky News Daily with Niall Paterson – subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.