Elon Musk famously said that buying Twitter wouldn’t turn it into a “hellscape” where anyone could say anything. However, the billionaire’s attacks on a former Twitter employee make it hard to believe that claim.
Musk helped spread false information about Twitter’s former head of trust and safety over the weekend. Musk accused Yoel Roth, who just quit Twitter after surviving Musk’s firings, of s*xualizing children in a way that was both homophobic and without any evidence.
Musk took a screenshot of a part of Roth’s doctoral dissertation and tweeted it with the message, “It looks like Yoel is arguing in his Ph.D. thesis that children should be able to use adult Internet services.” Roth, who is gay, wrote his dissertation at the University of Pennsylvania about the hookup app Grindr. He called it Gay Data.
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Roth comes to a conclusion about content moderation in the Musk-tweeted snippet and says that companies that run social media apps like Grindr should try to make their platforms safe for everyone, keeping in mind that LGBTQ youth under 18 also use these apps. But he doesn’t think that children should be s*xualized.
Roth’s dissertation says that Grinder isn’t “a safe and age-appropriate resource for teenagers.” However, since queer youth still use the app, it “should instead focus on crafting safety strategies that can accommodate a wide range of use cases.”
Because getting booed onstage at a Dave Chapelle show apparently wasn’t enough. https://t.co/nWcOSMYsrF
— Them (@them) December 13, 2022
Extremists on the far right have been spreading the false rumor for decades that gay and trans people are “groomers” who shouldn’t be trusted around children.
After Twitter executive Vijay Gadde was fired on Musk’s first day as CEO, Roth became the most senior member of Twitter’s trust and safety team. Roth defended Musk at first in meetings with the public and in public comments, but he quit his job in the end.
No doubt in my mind that Elon Musk is an evil person. Absolutely disgusting and terrifying person. And now he is pushing lies to try and get a gay former Twitter employee killed. Not sure how much longer I can use this app. I can’t support this.
— TV Tweets (@TVTweets2022) December 13, 2022
Roth wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times on November 18, just a few days after leaving Twitter. In it, he said, “The platform was actually safer under Mr. Musk than it was before.”
But when asked if he still felt that way at a Knight Foundation conference less than 10 days later, Roth said “No,” according to Reuters… Follow us only on Lee Daily for more news like this.