Twitter reportedly knew that Spaces could be abused due to a lack of moderation


From debuted earlier this year, hundreds of people reportedly joined live audio debates led by “Taliban supporters, white nationalists and anti-vaccine activists who sow disinformation about the coronavirus.” According to , Twitter did not have the moderation tools needed to combat harassment, calls for violence and hate speech on the premises before introducing competitor – despite the fact that executives knew it was likely to lead to abuse.

Spaces has no human moderators or technology that can track sound in real time. It is much harder to view audio automatically than text. So far, Twitter has relied on the community to report venues they believe violate company rules. However, if the host uses this feature as a soap opera to share transphobic, racist or otherwise fanatical views (), and their audience agrees with them, it seems unlikely that the listener will report the discussion to Twitter’s security team.

According to the report, Twitter’s technology has helped make some of these debates go viral. Because these spaces gathered a large audience, the systems perceived them as popular and promoted them to a larger number of users. That was said by Twitter spokeswoman Viviana Wiewall Fast the alleged error has been resolved.

“Ensuring the safety of people and encouraging healthy conversations, by helping hosts and listeners to control their experience, are key priorities from the start [Spaces’] development, ”Wiewall told the publication. Wiewall noted that the company is “exploring pathways” in terms of moderating Spaces in real time, “but that’s not something we currently have available.”

The spokesman pointed out that Twitter does have certain protections. It can scan Spaces titles to look for keywords that raise red flags, but modified spellings can ensure that problematic words bypass filters.

Twitter employees reportedly expressed concern about unmoderated live audio rooms, but some of those who suggested the company should slow down and work on security-enhancing technology were reportedly fired or left out of meetings. Leaders have made progress with the Spaces feature anyway, at least in part to reassure investors by accelerating product development and generating more revenue.

Since August, the hosts who meet certain criteria have also been able to do so , with Twitter taking the cut. The company chased other revenue streams besides advertising, including and . There were also problems with some of these products. The Tip Jar feature, through which users can send payments to each other as tips, through certain types of PayPal transactions.

Engadget contacted Twitter for comment.

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