Elon Musk’s X, the company formerly known as Twitter, is planning to build a new “Trust and Safety center of excellence” in Austin, Texas, to help enforce its content and safety rules.
The company aims to hire 100 full-time content moderators at the new location, according to Joe Benarroch, head of business operations at X. The group will focus on fighting material related to child sexual exploitation, but will help enforce the social media platform’s other rules, which include restrictions on hate speech and violent posts, he added. The company did not specify when this new center will be operational.
“X does not have a line of business focused on children, but it’s important that we make these investments to keep stopping offenders from using our platform for any distribution or engagement with CSE content,” Benarroch said. People must be at least 13-years-old to open an account on X, and the company says less than 1% of its daily users are between the ages of 13-17. Those 17 and under can’t be targeted by advertisers.
Musk has been criticized for cutting back on X’s trust and safety operations since taking the helm of the company in October 2022. He has also rescinded some policies, including those around misinformation, in an effort to bring “free speech” back to the service.
The timing of X’s announcement comes just a few days before Chief Executive Officer Linda Yaccarino is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a hearing on child safety online. She’ll be joined by the CEOs of other major technology companies, including Meta Platforms Inc., Snap Inc., TikTok, and Discord.
Yaccarino was in Washington this past week speaking with senators from both sides of the aisle ahead of the upcoming hearing. Conversations focused on X’s efforts with CSE and other types of problematic content, but she also tried to highlight the ways that X is working to distinguish itself from Twitter and the company’s prior policies and leadership, Benarroch added.