February 23, 2024

X To Open New Content Moderation Center in Austin

Elon Musk is actively hiring content moderators for its new X Austin office. The aim is to form a team of 100 moderators by the end of the year.

Called the “Trust and Safety Center of Excellence”, the date of opening of the facility is not yet known. However, it is expected to combat the growing issues of child abuse and rising hate speech on X.

X does not have a line of business focused on children, but it’s important that we make these investments.Joe Benarroch, X’s head of business operations

Benarroch stressed the fact that the company is looking to develop such a facility to prevent its platform from being used as a tool to spread hate.

Musk’s relationship with Austin isn’t new—Tesla already operates a gigafactory there. As per a recent tax filing of The Foundation, one of Musk’s charities, there are plans to build a university in Austin. Musk has tendered a $100 million gift for the purpose.

X’s Content Moderation Headaches

Ever since Musk has taken over X, the company has been under security for all the wrong reasons. He had fired content moderators right after he took over the reins.

X came under regulatory fire during the Hamas-Israel conflict. The EU launched a formal investigation into X’s content moderation practices. This was to examine if they are complying with legal requirements to stop the spread of misinformation and hate speech on the platform.

Evidently, X’s advertising revenue has taken a hit, which is expected to drop to $1.9bn in 2023 as compared to $4bn in 2022.

Similarly, a new law in California required social media companies to submit a half-yearly report disclosing their content moderation practices.

However, X filed a lawsuit challenging this law, terming it “unconstitutional”. X alleged that it violated the First Amendment and was against its policy of “free speech”.

However, Judge William Shubb dismissed such claims, reiterating that the law was well within the constitutional framework.

The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) has also accused X of stifling anti-hate campaigners on its platform. However, X rubbished such claims, claiming there to be a political motive behind such a statement.

All these incidents hint at one thing — X has not done enough to prevent hate speech on its platform. Musk’s own anti-semantic tweets were heavily criticized, which led to a massive advertiser exodus from the platform.

However, with this new Austin facility, X seems to finally be moving in the right direction. It remains to be seen how things shape up for Musk and his notion of “free-speech”.

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