Twitter’s new boss Elon Musk and the company’s co-founder Jack Dorsey are publicly arguing about the platform’s handling of child exploitation.
The pair disagreed in a series of tweets over the weekend.
Musk, who took over the company in October, blasted former Twitter executives in posts on Friday.
He stated that it “is a crime that they refused to take action on child exploitation for years.”
Musk was commenting in response to a tweet from a Twitter user that linked to a New York Post report.
The Post was reporting on a lawsuit that alleges Twitter refused to take down images of a teenager who was tricked into sending explicit photos of themselves to sex traffickers when they were aged between 13 and 14.
The lawsuit, which does not identify the plaintiff, claims that Twitter refused to do so because it did not find the images violated its policies on child exploitation materials.
It also accused the company of profiting off the footage.
Dorsey, who stepped down as Twitter CEO in November 2021, quickly responded to Musk’s tweet.
“This is false,” Dorsey wrote, prompting another response from the new Twitter CEO.
this is false.
— jack (@jack) December 9, 2022
“No, it is not,” Musk said.
“When Ella Irwin, who now runs Trust & Safety, joined Twitter earlier this year, almost no one was working on child safety.
“She raised this with Ned & Parag [former Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal] but they rejected her staffing request.
“I made it top priority immediately.”
Musk then accused Agrawal of having “super messed up priorities.”
“I don’t know what happened in past year,” Dorsey fired back.
“But to say we didn’t take action for years isn’t true.
“You can make all my emails public to verify.
“Company took away my access to email or I would.”
I don’t know what happened in past year. But to say we didn’t take action for years isn’t true. You can make all my emails public to verify. Company took away my access to email or I would.
— jack (@jack) December 9, 2022
The public disagreement between Musk and Dorsey comes shortly after cybersecurity and data analyst Andrea Stroppa, who has been working as an independent researcher on Twitter’s Trust and Safety team in recent weeks, revealed the number of accounts that are being suspended by Twitter on a daily basis for sharing child sexual abuse and exploitation material has nearly doubled since Musk took over the platform.
From December 3 to 4 alone, Stroppa confirmed that Twitter had taken down 44,000 “suspicious accounts” of which over 1,300 had attempted to avoid detection by using “codewords and text in images to communicate.”
Additionally, Stroppa noted that Twitter, under Musk, has updated and streamlined the way it detects content related to child sexual abuse or exploitation material to make it more efficient and “aggressive.”
Musk previously said that removing child exploitation from Twitter was his number one priority.
On Thursday, three members of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council resigned.
In a statement, Eirliani Abdul Rahman and Anne Collier, who had been members of the Trust and Safety Council since its inception in 2016, and Lesley Podesta, chair of the advisory board of the Young and Resilient Research Center and the niece of Democrat consultant John Podesta, said that it is “clear from research evidence that, contrary to claims by Elon Musk, the safety and wellbeing of Twitter’s users are on the decline.”