ISD’s Head of Election Integrity, Jiore Craig, is a guest on the BBC‘s Today Programme speaking on Elon Musk’s new policy regarding Twitter’s blue check marks. Musk claims that by providing the badges at a cost, it will help tame bots and trolls on the website who will supposedly not pay for it. However, Jiore points out that that isn’t necessarily the case.
“We don’t have any evidence that these changes will make the problem of disinformation, or automated accounts or impersonation any better. In fact, we have plenty of evidence that it will make it worse,” Jiore said, explaining that it will only make it more difficult for people navigating an online environment that they already struggle in trusting as they won’t be able to identify trustworthy sources.
Why is Musk saying this then? Jiore believes it is a “performative” reaction, likely attempting to “save face” regarding the millions the company is reported to be losing every day. While Musk largely justified buying the platform in 2022 as a move to safeguard “free speech” on the popular platform, Jiore says the opposite has happened, with increases in antisemitic accounts and hate speech nearly doubling since his takeover.
Since he started, “he’s had his thumb on the scale. He is controlling what we see on our feeds. He’s making changes to what users are able to see when they choose to follow someone. He’s overriding that.”
Jiore’s interview is available on the BBC website starting at 17:10 through 23:48.