The “Trust and Safety Council,” a coalition of advocacy groups that provide advice to Twitter on censoring lawful speech, claims that executives at the company aren’t paying enough attention to them.
The group wrote a letter to Twitter’s leadership on Monday, in which they detail that there has been no contact from management for months, and no discussion with them regarding new Twitter policies.
The council was formed in 2016, with an overall goal purportedly to create and maintain an environment where users “feel safe expressing themselves” on the social media site.
Some members are large, mainstream organizations, such as The Samaritans. Others are far-left groups like the notorious anti-free speech blog, Feminist Frequency, as well as LGBT advocacy group GLAAD, the Anti-Defamation League (formerly a nonpartisan group, now an anti-Trump outfit), as well as the Muslim advocacy group Wahid Institute.
The letter sent from the Council to Twitter was obtained by Wired on Friday. It relays a number of concerns, including not being able to contact the upper management of the company, and that the council was not given “advance heads-up of Twitter’s policy or product changes to the council,” which the letter describes as “embarrassing.”
The full letter, via Wired:
Dear Twitter team,
I am writing on behalf of the Trust and Safety Council Members, many of whom copied in have a number of concerns.Up until a call the other week, the last update to the group was December and while some members have continued to have updates and collaboration with their regional Twitter contacts, some have heard absolutely nothing despite constant chasing up. As it was mentioned on both the calls for different time zones the other week, this is unacceptable and many of us were sad to hear no acknowledgement or follow up communication after the calls to address this.
When we joined the Council we did so in the hope that it would be a partnership, one where both parties participate and indeed it started out that way. To have Jack spend time with us on both occasions and speak to us was incredible, as many of the other existing industry safety groups have never had the CEO or anyone senior from the company engage with them.
And indeed many members commented that last year’s summit was the best example of a way of working with safety partners within the entire industry, with the access to different twitter teams/departments exemplary. It then continued with excellent engagement via email updates and calls, with advance sharing of information and a chance to input on policies before announcements.
Which is why it has been extremely disappointing to have had no progress updates this year on what we all worked on at the summit and in previous years. Twitter’s approach has been in the past innovative and very effective and the Twitter health metrics proposals announced at the summits was an example of this. However we have had no update on these proposals, and we have received no update of our own council member Susan’s collaborative study with yourselves. This is no fault of Susan as from what we heard on the call the other week, but is again disappointing to have not had an explanation.
There have been no advance heads up of Twitter’s policy or product changes to the council, leaving many of us to have no prior warning or let alone knowledge when answering press and media enquiries about our role and involvement in the council. This is embarrassing. While this email cannot speak for everyone, a large number of voices copied in have shared concerns as a group and I will ask that people don’t individually reply so not clog up everyone’s inbox, but a number of us did feel it was important to copy everyone in, to keep everyone in the picture, something which has been missing of late.
We would therefore like to have a call with Jack as CEO to discuss this further as a council, and understand his vision for the council, as many of us have seen he continues to tweet in replies to challenges from users about the importance and reasons for the council existing. We trust that this is possible in a similar way Jack speaks on earnings calls.We look forward to hearing from you and hearing details of the suggested call and the next steps,It goes without saying that we all remain dedicated to contributing to safety on the platform.
Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council Members
The Trust and Safety Council, a group of outside advisers, is not to be confused with Twitter’s own Trust and Safety team, which is an internal team led by Twitter VP Del Harvey. The team has been blamed by former Twitter employees as the most significant voice pushing for censorship from inside Twitter.
In 2018, a former Twitter employee told Breitbart News that Harvey is a “hardcore SJW [Social Justice Warrior],” a term used to describe those on the far-left who support censorship and political correctness.
Update — A twitter spokesperson provided the following statement to Breitbart News, attributed to Nick Pickles, public policy for Twitter:
We’ve been discussing ways we can improve how we work with partners, experts and advocates, including having conversations with our Trust and Safety Council members. From those conversations, we’ve heard that one small, centralized group isn’t reflective of Twitter’s role in the world, so we’re working on ways to hear more regularly from a more diverse range of voices. We remain committed to working alongside partners to keep people safe on Twitter.
Are you an insider at Google, Facebook, Twitter or any other tech company who wants to confidentially reveal wrongdoing or political bias at your company? Reach out to Allum Bokhari at his secure email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.