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The viral spread of disturbing animal cruelty videos on Twitter has raised significant questions about the platform’s content moderation policies, particularly following Elon Musk’s takeover of the company.
A particularly shocking video, showing a live kitten placed in a blender, was circulated widely. Laura Clemens, a parent from London, learned about this horrific footage from her 11-year-old son. On investigating, she found that a simple search for “cat” on Twitter suggested “cat in a blender”, leading her directly to the graphic video.
Twitter seemed to have disabled the autocomplete feature in the search bar by Friday, but the damage was already done. Clemens expressed relief that her son talked to her about the video instead of discovering it himself but worries for other children who might stumble upon such content.
Disturbingly, this is not an isolated incident. Since Elon Musk‘s $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, more and more videos showcasing animal abuse and other violent incidents have been circulating unchecked on the platform. Musk’s cost-cutting measures, which led to layoffs of half the company’s workforce, might have had an impact on the oversight of content moderation.
Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, suggested that some of the company’s safeguards against illicit or dangerous content might have been compromised. He explained that Twitter had built an extensive system to prevent illegal or violent content from appearing as autocomplete suggestions, a feature known as “type-ahead search”.
Clemens reported the cat video to Twitter’s Support account and Ella Irwin, the vice president of trust and safety at Twitter, on May 3rd. Yet, her plea for stricter control over violent content seems to have gone unaddressed.
Twitter’s response to these concerns has been less than satisfactory. The company has adopted a nonchalant approach to criticism, resorting to poop emojis as replies. In the meantime, Musk has announced Linda Yaccarino, NBCUniversal advertising chief, as the next CEO of Twitter.
This issue underscores the need for social media platforms to invest in robust content moderation systems. The viral spread of animal abuse content not only traumatizes viewers but also encourages a harmful disregard for animal welfare. In the quest for growth and cost efficiency, tech companies must not neglect their responsibility toward user safety and societal norms.
With contemporary society’s fixation on gaining popularity on social media, people often take drastic measures to gain views and “likes” across various websites. This could be tolerable if not for the fact that many of these people exploit animals in order to reach a sense of pseudo-celeb status. It is never ok to use an animal for entertainment, and we hope that these platforms will finally do what’s right and do something about these emerging videos!
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- Woman Arrested for Sharing Abuse Videos of Torturing, Skinning, Hanging, and Brutally Killing Animals on Instagram and TikTok
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