X hiring content moderators for a new ‘Trust and Safety’ center in Austin

The news comes days before Linda Yaccarino’s senate hearing.

Elon Musk at a speaking event holding a microphone

Musk is bringing back a little bit of content moderation.
Credit: Getty Images

X, formerly known at Twitter, is building its content moderation team back up, but not completely.

According to Bloomberg, the company is hiring 100 employees for a “Trust and Safety center of excellence” in Austin, TX. After Elon Musk took over the platform in 2022, he laid off around 80 percent of the company and gutted the content moderation team. The new team will focus on enforcing the platform’s rules around violence and hate speech, and specifically combatting CSE (Child Sexual Exploitation).

The timing of this report comes days before X CEO Linda Yaccarino is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a hearing on protecting children online. On Friday, Jan. 26, X published a blog post outlining its work to “tackle Child Sexual Exploitation” on the platform.

As a self-professed “free-speech absolutist,” Musk bought the platform to create a digital town square by rolling back policies and efforts which he believed hindered free speech. However, this soon turned X into an even more toxic place, which caused big ticket advertisers to leave the platform and X’s valuation to plummet.

Is the development of a content moderation headquarters the sign of positive change for the platform? According to 2020 NYU Stern report, Twitter used to have around 1,500 content moderators, so a team of 100 is peanuts compared to what it used to be. No doubt, Yaccarino will have more to say about it at the hearing on Jan. 31.

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Cecily is a tech reporter at Mashable who covers AI, Apple, and emerging tech trends. Before getting her master’s degree at Columbia Journalism School, she spent several years working with startups and social impact businesses for Unreasonable Group and B Lab. Before that, she co-founded a startup consulting business for emerging entrepreneurial hubs in South America, Europe, and Asia. You can find her on Twitter at @cecily_mauran.

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