Twitter’s former head of security says platform is less secure under Elon Musk

Yoel Roth, the company’s former head of trust and security, said in his first public interview since suddenly quitting Twitter, that he believes the platform is less secure under Elon Musk. Speaking at an event hosted by the Knight Foundation, Roth answered “No” when asked if he still believes Twitter is safer since Musk took over.

Roth’s comments are particularly noteworthy because he was one of the only senior executives to publicly discuss what had happened on Twitter in the chaotic days after Musk’s takeover. Roth, a longtime member of Twitter’s policy team, detailed the coordination that led to an increase in racial slurs on the platform. Musk frequently featured his tweets, pointing to Twitter’s statements about what it’s doing to stop racist attacks.

But Roth said that although initially optimistic, a collapse in “procedural legitimacy” eventually led to his departure. He noted that Musk had stated on Twitter that he wanted to form a “moderation council” before making important policy decisions, but it quickly showed that Musk preferred to make the decisions himself.

“He would say things consistent with forming a moderation council, consistent with not making capricious, one-sided decisions, and I was optimistic based on that,” Roth said. “My optimism finally faded.”

Roth also pointed to the failed rollout of Twitter Blue and paid verification, saying his team had warned Musk beforehand but chose to ignore his concerns. “It went off the rails exactly as we anticipated, and there were no security measures in place to address this beforehand,” Roth said, referring to the scams and impersonations that followed the initial launch of Twitter Blue. .

Roth’s comments came as Musk accelerated his Twitter Blue verification this week. In his recent comments, Musk said that there will be different colored badges for businesses and individuals, and there will be some kind of manual authentication process.

While Roth said he didn’t believe Twitter would have a “fantastic moment of failure,” some former employees speculated after mass layoffs and resignations at the company. , as well as privacy-protecting features such as protected tweets, will continue to work normally. “If protected tweets stop working, run because it’s a sign that something is deeply wrong,” he said.

He also said that Twitter could improve its machine learning systems, but the absence of senior policy and security staff at the company would hurt the platform.

“Are there enough people who understand the malicious campaigns that arise in the service and understand it well enough to guide product strategy and policy direction?” said. “I don’t think there are enough people left in the company to do this job.”

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