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02 October 2023

Twitter executive responsible for content safety resigns after Elon Musk criticism

Published
By AP

A top Twitter executive responsible for safety and content moderation has left the company, her departure coming soon after owner Elon Musk publicly complained about the platform’s handling of posts about transgender topics.

The departure pointed to a fresh wave of turmoil among key officials at Twitter since Musk took over last year.

Ella Irwin, Twitter’s head of trust and safety, confirmed her resignation in a pair of tweets late Friday. She did not say in the message why she was leaving, but her departure came shortly after Musk criticized Twitter’s handling of tweets about a conservative media company’s documentary that questions transgender medical treatment for children and teens.

Musk was responding to complaints by Jeremy Boreing, co-CEO of the media company, the Daily Wire. Boreing said in tweets and retweets of conservative commentators Thursday that Twitter was suppressing the movie by flagging posts about it as hate speech and keeping the movie off lists of trending topics.

 

Boreing tweeted that Twitter canceled a deal to premiere “What is a Woman?” for free on the platform “because of two instances of ‘misgendering.’” Twitter rules prohibit intentionally referring to transgender individuals with the wrong gender or name.

“This was a mistake by many people at Twitter. It is definitely allowed,” Musk tweeted back. “Whether or not you agree with using someone’s preferred pronouns, not doing so is at most rude and certainly breaks no laws.”

Irwin tweeted Friday that “one or two people noticed” she left the company the day before, and she noted speculation about whether she was fired or quit. She teased that she would post 24 tweets to explain her departure.

Then she posted that she was just kidding about the long narrative.

“In all seriousness, I did resign but this has been a once in a lifetime experience and I’m so thankful to have worked with this amazing team of passionate, creative and hardworking people. Will be cheering you all and Twitter as you go!”

Next to Musk, Irwin had been the most prominent voice of the company’s ever-changing content policies in recent months.

Twitter has struggled to bring back advertisers turned off by Musk’s drastic changes and loosening of rules against hate speech since he bought Twitter for $44 billion in October. Twitter also has an incoming CEO, Linda Yaccarino, known for decades of media and advertising industry experience, but she hasn’t started yet.

Irwin and Twitter didn’t respond to requests from The Associated Press for comment.

Twitter has been in turmoil including mass layoffs and voluntary departures since the billionaire Tesla owner bought the San Francisco company and took it private. The company’s head of trust and safety left shortly after the takeover, and turnover in the top ranks has continued.