RSF’s Ten Recommendations to the New Twitter Boss
Linda Yaccarino has been officially appointed to head Twitter. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) proposes a series of ten actions she should take to help Twitter recover from the disaster caused by Elon Musk’s leadership. The task is up to her.
Musk has finally turned his position as CEO over to Yaccarino, former director of advertising and partnerships of NBCUniversal. Six weeks from now, she will officially oversee the social network, closely supervised by the billionaire who will remain executive chair, with the additional post of chief technology officer. The Twitter owner will thus be both subordinate and employer of the company’s new boss, whom he assigned to transform it into ”X, the everything app.”
“We will judge Linda Yaccarino on her ability to stand up to the billionaire and put out the fire he started. It is possible to reform Twitter and to make it a valuable information-access platform. But this clearly cannot be done without confronting the capricious businessman who bought it.”
Head of RSF's Tech Desk
While awaiting for the next boss of the social network to officially take up her position, RSF already invites her to be inspired by the organization’s ten recommendations:
Protect Media and information
1. Re-establish genuine certification. Account certification protected media organizations from identify theft, a frighteningly effective tool for damaging their reputations and rapidly disseminating fake information. It is essential that media outlets be certified under a system that protects their identifies, for their own and the public’s good. The current system is no such thing, amounting merely to a client list.
2. Invest in the fight against disinformation. Musk’s industrial-scale purge has decimated the teams in charge of combating disinformation. These teams must be rebuilt as soon as possible, all the more so because the Twitter Blue service is favored by disinformation accounts.
3. Promote reliable information. Twitter must find a way to favor trustworthy media by ensuring that algorithms promote media certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative. This standard, initiated by RSF, identifies media that produce content that meets journalism’s technical and ethical standards.
4. Renew relations with the media. Twitter’s press office must stop its insulting replies to journalists, who have a right to report on Twitter’s policies. Journalists’ questions are legitimate, and Twitter must accept that it should respond.
Put an end to arbitrary rule
5. Establish clear regulations. Moderation standards and rules should be clear, understandable and applied intelligently, instead of the product of aggressive impulses by the chief executive. These rules must be developed with the participation of the key stakeholders involved.
6. Make moderation transparent. Users must be able to challenge moderation decisions. The process leading to moderation must be clear and explained from start to finish.
7. Complete the opening of Twitter’s code by reinstating free access to APIs for researchers. Publication of the code for the site’s “For You” feed is a first step. Without access to the data to test the algorithms’ functioning, precisely auditing how they disseminate information is impossible.
Manage influential users
8. Supervise influencers. A user account should be considered highly influential if it meets the following criteria: it has at least 50,000 followers, it belongs to a person with political responsibilities or to another public personality certified by the platforms. These influencers must be subject to specific obligations.
9. Influencer transparency. Under Musk, Twitter now gives priority amplification to those who can pay, who generally also have something to sell. The platform’s influencers should show transparency concerning their political affiliations and commercial deals.
10. Subject influencers to a code of conduct. Influencers should follow a strict code developed by Twitter, specifically designed to ensure, for example, that they will not relay disinformation content. Violators would face penalties.