If you listen to liberal journalists who think Americans need experts like them to sort out the facts, Twitter is going to be a desolate wasteland of misinformation on Election Night because Elon Musk downsized his staff on Friday.
“Hundreds of people are now without a job, including some that work on U.S. elections to help police misinformation and malicious content on Twitter,” ABC’s Reena Roy warned on Saturday’s Good Morning America.
“Bad actors will now try to take advantage, experts say,” NBC’s Jacob Ward predicted on Today. His expert, Joan Donovan from Harvard’s Shorenstein Center, blamed “right-wing actors” for what’s about to go down: “The environment on Twitter is going to degrade and erode, especially as we see a lot of motivated far-right actors jumping in, creating hate, harassment and incitement content because they know that it’s not going to be removed.”
On MSNBC’s Katie Phang Show, NBC senior reporter Brandy Zadrozny told fill-in host Sam Stein that Musk should not be trusted to uphold Twitter’s commitment to an accurate Web site:
I think it is important to say that we can see how Elon Musk uses Twitter, right? He uses it to troll, he uses it to communicate with right-wing influencers and promise them that, you know, he’ll be on their side and that he will help them out and look into their account, and so it’s really frankly suspect to believe that the company has this, sort of, commitment on the forefront, especially with regards to the election.
Back on NBC, Ward ended his piece by fretting that “Twitter is entering the maelstrom of the midterms with half the staff.” Video of a portion of that story is below, followed by the transcript.
November 5, 2022
JACOB WARD: This morning, thousands of Twitter employees are out of a job after roughly half the staff received this message by email Friday: “Today is your last working day at the company.” Elon Musk saying in a tweet, he had, quote, “no choice.” All of this just seven days after he acquired the company, and only three days before the midterm elections will test Twitter’s ability to handle misinformation.
According to sources inside the company, the layoffs hit teams that filter out hate speech, add context, and study how algorithms can make misinformation worse. Bad actors will now try to take advantage, experts say.
JOAN DONOVAN, Harvard’s Shorenstein Center: The environment on Twitter is going to degrade and erode, especially as we see a lot of motivated far-right actors jumping in, creating hate, harassment and incitement content because they know that it’s not going to be removed.
JACOB WARD: Twitter did not respond to requests for comment, but Musk says he’s optimistic, tweeting on Friday our goal is to make Twitter the most accurate source of information on Earth, without regard to political affiliation....Facing all these complications, Twitter is entering the maelstrom of the midterms with half the staff.
Ward’s warnings about “far-right actors” on NBC was sponsored by Wayfair, while Zadrozny’s criticism of Musk was sponsored by Jeep.