Elon Musk’s X Announces New Head of Safety

Kos Temenes
By Kos Temenes
April 3, 2024Business News
Elon Musk’s X Announces New Head of Safety
The logo of social media platform X, formerly Twitter on July 24, 2023. (Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Reuters)

Elon Musk’s social media platform X announced on April 2 that it has appointed a new head of safety. The company’s decision came after the company’s previous safety leader resigned just seven months into the role.

Kylie McRoberts, who has worked for the social media giant for nearly four years, will be taking over the role from Ella Irwin, who took over from her predecessor, Yoel Roth.

Mr. Roth resigned in 2022, just weeks after Mr. Musk took over the platform. In an interview with Fox News in November 2022, Mr. Roth admitted that the decision by X, then Twitter, to censor the Hunter Biden laptop story was a mistake.

The company had censored information relating to the issue after it emerged in October 2020, after being prompted by federal agents ahead of the 2020 election, warning the platforms about foreign propaganda and misinformation.

Since Mr. Musk took over the company in 2022, it has restored multiple previously banned accounts to the platform, many of which were accounts held by conservative public figures and politicians.

According to X, Ms. McRoberts will head the company’s global safety team, previously known as the Trust and Safety team. She will also oversee the establishment of a new safety hub in Austin, Texas, which CEO Linda Yaccarino announced at the start of the year.

A big proponent of free speech, Mr. Musk has repeatedly refused to ban accounts that questioned controversial topics, including election integrity and those who voiced their opposition to other issues pushed by left-leaning progressives, which resulted in multiple advertisers canceling their contracts with the social media platform.

Also, on April 2, X announced that it hired Yale Cohen, a former advertising executive at Publicis Media, to lead the company’s brand safety and advertising solutions. The move reportedly serves to stimulate efforts to get advertisers back onto the platform.

According to X’s announcement, Ms. McRoberts has previously worked on other safety features within the company, including the use of labels that notify respective accounts of restricted content.

Ms. McRoberts’ Future endeavors will include the development of new products, tools and features to safeguard the platform and its associated community, as well as adhering to safety policies and methodology, according to X.

The company’s CEO, Linda Yaccarino, offered testimony about X’s safety policies before a Senate committee in January. In a supporting document that Ms. Yaccarino presented to the committee, it stated that X employs more than 2,000 people who ensure adequate management of trust, safety, and content moderation. She did not specify whether these employees worked on a full-or part-time basis.

Ms. McRoberts has previous experience in online privacy and cybersecurity. Her background includes roles at Google, where she worked on safe web browsing initiatives.

Last month, Mr. Musk announced in a post on X that the name of X’s “Trust and Safety” team would be changed to simply the “Safety” team.

“Any organization that puts “Trust” in their name cannot be trusted, as that is obviously a euphemism for censorship. We are changing the name of our Trust & Safety group, to simply @Safety,” the post read.

“Trust is something that must be earned. The goal of our Safety team is simply to ensure compliance with the laws that already exist to protect the people.”

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