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Twitter disbands its ‘Trust and Safety Council’ that tackled harassment and child exploitation

<i>David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images</i><br/>
Bloomberg via Getty Images
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images

By Donie O’Sullivan, CNN

Twitter announced late Monday that it was disbanding its “Trust and Safety Council,” according to an email the company sent to the council’s members that was obtained by CNN.

The company said in the email that it was “reevaluating how best to bring external insights into our product and policy development work. As part of this process, we have decided that the Trust and Safety Council is not the best structure to do this.”

The move comes as Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk is undoing many of the policies and practices put in place before he took over the social media company.

A page on Twitter’s website, which has now been removed, explained that the council was made up of external expert organizations that advised on issues including online safety, human and digital rights, suicide prevention, mental health, child sexual exploitation, and dehumanization.

“Together, they advocate for safety and advise us as we develop our products, programs, and rules,” Twitter previously explained.

Three members of the council resigned in protest last week, writing in a statement that “contrary to claims by Elon Musk, the safety and wellbeing of Twitter’s users are on the decline.”

Musk disbanded the advisory body less than an hour before it was due to meet with Twitter representatives, one of the council’s members told CNN.

“Rather than engage with members’ concerns, Twitter disbanded the Council less than an hour before the call,” a spokesperson for the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), a Washington DC-based non-profit, told CNN.

“CDT and other Council members have been deeply concerned by Twitter executives’ disregard for due process, deliberative policymaking, and investment of resources to maintain the fairness and safety of the platform,” the spokesperson added.

The Anti-Defamation League also expressed disappointment in the decision to disband the council.

“ADL was an active member of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council because we strongly believed that social media companies should learn from the best practices of civil society and those communities most affected by hate, harassment, and extremism online on how to best address these issues,” Yael Eisenstat, vice president of the ADL’s Center for Technology and Society, said in a statement. “It is disappointing that the council was dissolved because its members had valuable insights about how to make their platform a safer place for all users.”

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