Elon Musk has been personally moderating Twitter posts related to the Brazilian election, becoming directly involved in nuts-and-bolts operations just days after closing his $44 billion acquisition of the social network, sources told The Post.
“He is constantly calling balls and strikes,” one source close to Twitter said, adding that the Tesla billionaire is so far following the content moderation rules that were in place before he took over.
Musk’s hands-on approach comes as he reportedly works with a skeleton crew, even as he has denied reports he may fire as much as 75% of the company’s 7,500-member workforce.
Prior to Musk’s takeover, hundreds of Twitter employees had the power to remove posts that contained misinformation or hate speech, but now just 15 people have that ability, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.
Twitter’s safety and integrity head Yoel Roth defended the clampdown ahead of the US midterm elections, writing: “This is exactly what we (or any company) should be doing in the midst of a corporate transition to reduce opportunities for insider risk. We’re still enforcing our rules at scale.”
Brazil’s election — which saw leftist former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva defeat incumbent conservative Jair Bolsonaro on Sunday by less than two percentage points — has been marred by outrageous online disinformation spread by allies of both candidates.
Bolsonaro supporters have accused Lula of being a Satanist, while Lula backers have claimed Bolsonaro is a cannibal, the Washington Post reported. Bolsonaro is expected to accept his election loss in a Tuesday speech, one of his allies told Reuters, amid fears he would call the election fraudulent.
The wild claims coming from both sides put Twitter’s new “Chief Twit” in the awkward position of managing the removal of false posts on a site that he had pledged to turn into a bastion of free speech.
Musk himself drew the ire of fact-checkers — and potentially some Twitter advertisers — after posted and then deleted a tweet with an unfounded rumor about the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband earlier this week.
Musk also may draw the ire of Bolsonaro, who he met during a trip to Brazil in May.
At the time, the right-wing president called Musk’s Twitter takeover bid a “breath of hope” and said he hoped that the mogul would help stop his enemies from spreading lies about deforestation in the Amazon, Reuters reported
“It’s the start of a relationship which I’m sure will soon end in marriage,” Bolsonaro gushed about his meeting with Musk.
The mogul has said that he plans to eventually form “a content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints,” adding, “No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before that council convenes.”
A decision about potentially removing former President Donald Trump’s Twitter ban will not be made until at least after next week’s midterm elections, a source close to Twitter said.
Musk has previously called the ban a mistake, while Trump has insisted he will not rejoin Twitter and will instead stick with his beleaguered social media site, TRUTH Social.
A spokesperson for Musk declined to comment.
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