Twitter is facing challenges on multiple fronts. The company is tied up in a legal fight over Elon Musk’s will-he-won’t-he acquisition. And earlier this week, whistleblower allegations brought renewed scrutiny to the platform’s possibly sub-par security practices.
Now, the company is making some, seemingly related, internal changes. Twitter is merging its content moderating “health experience” and “service” teams into one new combined sector called “health products and services,” according to a Tuesday staff memo reportedly seen by Reuters.
Previously, the health experience team worked to reduce misinformation and harmful content across the site. The service team was, among other things, responsible for reviewing user reports of site violations, bugs, and spam accounts. Although, Twitter emphasized to Gizmodo that much of their spam moderation work happens under a different internal sector.
The structural change-up comes amid the ongoing Musk acquisition drama (i.e. Musk’s assertion that the social media platform doesn’t accurately monitor and report bot numbers, and that that should free him from his agreement to purchase the social media site).
Notably, the team merger also directly followed the widely publicized whistleblower claims of a former company exec that Twitter has overall weak security practices, and that the platform knowingly ignores its bot problem.
In a letter sent July 6, and in follow-up interviews with CNN and The Washington Post, Peiter “Mudge” Zatko made multiple allegations against Twitter. These include that the company has allowed government agents to infiltrate the platform, that half of all employees have access to sensitive user data, and that Twitter doesn’t, in fact, have accurate numbers on bots.
Musk’s legal team has subpoenaed Zatko to testify about the bot issue in the billionaire’s ongoing court battle.
The company declined to respond to Gizmodo’s questions about if this internal re-organization was directly related to Zatko’s claims. However, in an e-mailed statement, a Twitter spokesperson told Gizmodo the following:
This reorganization reflects our continued commitment to prioritize, and focus our teams in pursuit of our goals. Stopping bad actors, creating more transparency around how we support a healthy platform, while also helping promote and encourage diverse thoughts and conversations continues to be foundational to everything we do and how we organize our teams. We are grateful for the continued leadership and expertise Ella Irwin, VP Product, has brought to this work over the last several months to inform this new structure and to ensure our teams are set up for success.
According to Reuters, Irwin, who will be leading the team, wrote in the Tuesday email to staff that “we need to focus on specific problems, working together as one team and no longer operating in silos.” She added that the new group will “ruthlessly prioritize” its work and goals.
Update 8/24/2022, 2:08 p.m. ET: This post headline and text has been updated to clarify the role of Twitter’s service team.