Coming as an example of the effect of mass layoffs/dismissals among Twtitter employees after the arrival of Elon Musk at the helm of the company, the only effort required to “censor” anti-regime communications initiated on Twitter by Chinese users was to activate SPAM accounts.
If before the much-publicized acquisition, Elon Musk was concerned about the huge number of “fake” accounts allegedly tolerated by the company’s former management to give the impression that Twitter is a bigger social network than it really is, and therefore more valuable, the fears expressed now seem to be materializing in the darkest possible scenario. Following the wave of “email” layoffs, plus numerous voluntary departures that were motivated by demands considered absurd by employees used to a somewhat more relaxed working atmosphere, Twitter has come to operate more or less “on autopilot”. There simply aren’t enough staff to properly manage the platform, with key issues such as content moderation left to automated filters that either can’t keep up with the new challenges, or simply weren’t designed to operate completely unattended.
And so it is that, in a rare gesture of cohesion by China’s protesters, who for the first time in many, many years are showing signs of succeeding in coordinating against the oppressive measures taken by the current Communist Regime, Twitter is failing to provide the very freedom of unfettered communication that has brought it notoriety. If in the most recent example of the war in Ukraine, Twitter was instrumental in organizing and coordinating resistance against the aggressor forces, it seems that this time the result is a total failure.
Can @elonmusk explain why top search results for these Chinese cities are all escort ads? There have been active protests in these cities and people inside China are coming to Twitter to see what the government has censored. pic.twitter.com/tXQhL2Aoxy
– Wenhao (@ThisIsWenhao) November 27, 2022
What’s worse is that the tactic of SPAM bombardment from phantom accounts is hardly a new approach. The difference is that in the past, SPAM filters were updated manually, with a veritable army of moderators ensuring the opposing side is constantly engaged with at least as strong a response. According to information provided under the protection of anonymity by a (still) Twitter employee, the problems started to appear early Sunday, by the end of the day completely overwhelming the remaining moderation teams.
Contacted for an official position, Twitter’s public relations team appears to be unavailable at this time.