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Twitter’s trust and safety team held a one-day sickout to protest against Elon Musk’s policies, report says

  • Twitter’s trust and safety team staged a sickout on November 10, the Washington Post reported.
  • This was in protest to Musk initially ignoring their warnings about the risks of Twitter Blue. 
  • Sources told the Post that Musk was “overriding or making up policy as he went without any input.”

Twitter’s trust and safety team carried out a one-day sickout on November 10 in protest at Elon Musk’s approach to safety on the platform, the Washington Post reported

The protest was sparked by declining morale on the team after Musk launched Twitter Blue on November 9 — an $8-per-month subscription service giving users a blue checkmark and exclusive features — against their advice, the Post said.

The team sent a seven-page document to Musk a week earlier, warning of the dangers of his new badge system including impersonation and widespread confusion over which accounts are real and which are fake. 

A sickout is an organized protest in which employees call in sick at the same time without warning, to draw attention to issues needing urgent attention. 

The protest occurred on the same day that Twitter’s head of trust and safety Yoel Roth resigned after the Twitter Blue rollout citing Musk’s “lack of legitimacy through his impulsive changes and tweet-length pronouncements about Twitter’s rules,” as a reason in an op-ed in the New York Times.

Just weeks earlier, on the day he completed the purchase of the company, Musk fired Roth’s predecessor Vijaya Gadde, who headed Twitter’s trust and safety team for 11 years. 

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the sickout. 

The trust and safety team mulled over a mass resignation when Musk issued an ultimatum to workers to either sign up for his “hardcore” Twitter 2.0 or quit by Thursday 17, 5:00 p.m., sources told the Post. There was a “lopsided consensus that Musk didn’t value their work.” 

One source told the Post: “There appeared to be no strategy for [trust and safety], and Elon was just overriding or making up policy as he went without any input.”

The rollout of Twitter Blue has been paused in recent weeks, with users currently unable to sign up for the premium service. Musk said in a Monday meeting with staff that the service won’t be brought back until “we’re confident about significant impersonations not happening,” per a transcript of the meeting obtained by The Verge. 

Musk appointed executive Ella Irwin as the new head of trust and safety last week. Irwin had initially joined as a vice president of product for health and Twitter services in June, but resigned in the early days of Musk’s takeover.

Irwin was one leader brought back by Musk to help persuade others to stay at Twitter after less than 50% of staff signed up for Twitter 2.0.

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