Twitter is merging its spam fighting and misinfo prevention teams

Amid the chaos of Twitter’s legal fight with Elon Musk and its ex-security head turning into a whistleblower, the company is merging its team for fighting misinformation and harmful content with the team that looks after removing spam accounts.

According to an internal email seen by Reuters, the social media firm will call this new group “Health Products and Services (HPS).”

Twitter confirmed the development and said the company’s VP of Product Ella Irwin will lead this team. But didn’t provide any details about how these teams will work together and how it will impact misinformation and spam on the platform.

“Today’s reorganization reflects our continued commitment to prioritize and focus our teams in pursuit of our goals. Stopping bad actors, and 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,” the company said in a statement to TechCrunch.

The Reuters report noted that current and former employees believed that team restructuing might not help as the causes of the spam account problem on problem ” have historically run deeper than one team can manage on its own.”

In a complaint filed with the U.S. SEC, FTC and DOJ earlier this year, the company’s former security head Peiter “Mudge” Zatko highlighted Twitter’s improper handling of spam accounts. In the report, which came to light Tuesday, Mudge said that the social network switched from reporting total monthly users to monetizable daily users (mDAU) in 2019 to snub reporting the actual number of fake accounts on the platform. He accused Twitter of not caring about the number of bots, in fact, the company “incentivized to accurately ‘detect’ or report total spam bots on the platform.”

The number of fake accounts on Twitter is the central issue of the company’s legal battle with Musk. The Tesla CEO has repeatedly alleged that the media firm has misreported the scale of spam account spread on the social network.

Earlier this week, Twitter confirmed that it is testing a new badge for users who verify their phone numbers linked to the account — likely meant for separating human users from bot accounts.


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