The Trust and Safety Council, an advisory body made up of about 100 independent civil rights, human rights, and other organizations, has been disbanded by Elon Musk’s Twitter.
The council was established in 2016 to address issues like hate speech, child exploitation, suicide, self-harm, and other issues on the platform.
On Monday night, the council was supposed to meet with Twitter representatives.
However, according to some participants, Twitter told the group through email that it was dissolving just before the scheduled meeting.
The council members spoke to The Associated Press anonymously because of retaliation concerns.
They provided screenshots of the email via Twitter.
The email, which was signed “Twitter,” stated that “our work to make Twitter a safe, informative place will be moving quicker and more aggressively than ever before, and we will continue to encourage your thoughts moving forward about how to achieve this aim.”
The volunteer committee offered knowledge and recommendations on how Twitter should more effectively tackle hatred, abuse, and other ills, but it lacked any formal ability to make decisions and didn’t look into individual content disputes.
Council member Alex Holmes tweeted, “Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council was a group of volunteers who over many years gave up their time when consulted by Twitter personnel to offer advice on a wide range of online abuses and safety problems.” There was never a governing body or decision-making involved.
San Francisco-based Twitter, which confirmed the meeting with the council on Thursday, promised an “open conversation and Q&A” with staff members, including the newly appointed director of trust and safety, Ella Irwin.
When occurred on the same day that three council members submitted a public letter on Twitter informing the public that they were resigning and asserting that “contrary to Elon Musk’s statements, the safety and wellness of Twitter’s users are declining.”
After Musk criticized them and Twitter’s previous leadership for supposedly not doing more to eliminate child sexual exploitation on the network, those former council members quickly became the focus of online vitriol.
“It is wrong that they stalled on fighting child exploitation for so long! Musk tweeted this.
A growing number of attacks on the council worried some of the surviving members, who on Monday demanded that Twitter stop misrepresenting the organization’s function in an email to Twitter.
The email said that the false allegations made by Twitter leaders were “endangering current and past Council members.”
One of the advisory groups for the Trust and Safety Council was dedicated to preventing child exploitation.
This included YAKIN, Youth Adult Survivors & Kin in Need, the Rati Foundation, and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.