Elon Musk on Wednesday said that Twitter has meddled in elections, lending credence to critics who say social media platforms have immense power to control politics in the U.S. and around the world.
Mr. Musk did not identify the specific elections he thought were affected by the social media platform’s failures when he condemned his predecessors in a reply to a person who said Twitter has lost people’s trust.
“The obvious reality, as long-time users know, is that Twitter has failed in trust & safety for a very long time and has interfered in elections,” Mr. Musk wrote. “Twitter 2.0 will be far more effective, transparent and even-handed.”
Republicans and Democrats have leveled accusations that social media platforms enabled interference in American politics for several years.
For example, Republicans point to Twitter’s decision before the 2020 election to restrict the distribution of news reports about embarrassing conduct and suspicious business deals by President Biden’s son Hunter Biden.
Since Mr. Musk’s takeover of Twitter, he has faced allegations of making moderation decisions affecting politics — including from an anonymous source who told the New York Post that Mr. Musk was personally moderating tweets about Brazil’s recent election.
Mr. Musk’s comments on Wednesday were published in a thread responding to a news article featuring criticism from Yoel Roth, who left Twitter as its head of trust and safety earlier this month.
Before leaving the company, Mr. Roth said Twitter had improved under Mr. Musk. But he said at a Knight Foundation conference on Tuesday that he no longer thought the social media platform was safer under Mr. Musk’s leadership.
Mr. Roth said Twitter did not have enough people remaining to do safety work to stop malicious campaigns, which he described as requiring human involvement more than automated machine learning tools.
“There is no ‘set it and forget it’ when it comes to trust and safety,” Mr. Roth said at the conference.
Twitter published a blog post on Wednesday about “Twitter 2.0” that said none of the company’s policies have changed but it is experimenting in public.
“Our Trust & Safety team continues its diligent work to keep the platform safe from hateful conduct, abusive behavior, and any violation of Twitter’s rules,” read Twitter’s blog post. “The team remains strong and well-resourced, and automated detection plays an increasingly important role in eliminating abuse.”
Mr. Musk has pledged to lift the lid on how the company has made censorship decisions, which his detractors have characterized as necessary to keep the platform safe.
“The Twitter Files on free speech suppression soon to be published on Twitter itself,” Mr. Musk said Monday on Twitter. “The public deserves to know what really happened.”