The Chicago Journal

Elon Musk vowed to end child exploitation on Twitter, workforce too thin

Elon Musk declared he could stop child trafficking on Twitter, the social media platform he spent $44 billion to buy.

He spoke about the issue and stated it was his top concern less than a month ago.

There has yet to be any evidence, though, that Twitter has been acting aggressively since he took charge.

According to conversations with four former employees, one current employee, internal business records, and people working toward the same goal, Musk hasn’t made a significant investment in removing child exploitation-related information from Twitter.


Elon Musk turned the discussion of internet security into a significant effort to malign former Twitter leaders.

In addition, he is using his ownership in the “awake mind virus,” a social movement that opposes far-left to center-left principles.

After he agreed with far-right internet rhetoric that usually includes exaggerated accusations of child sex abuse, the change occurred.

“It is a crime that they refused to take action on child exploitation for years,” Musk tweeted on Friday.

His comment was in reaction to a letter of resignation from a member of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council who focused on child abuse issues.

The previous CEO, Jack Dorsey, responded, “This is false.”

New management

Now run by Musk, Twitter said that more accounts were suspended for child sex abuse content in November than in any other month.

The suspensions were attributed to new partnerships with anonymous groups and new “detection and enforcement mechanisms.”

The following reasons hindered the corporation’s ability to address child sex abuse online:

  • Layoffs
  • Mass-firings
  • Resignations

Internal records

Internal records obtained by NBC News and CNBC reveal that 25 of the 1,600 workers still employed by Twitter had positions related to “Trust and Safety,” although the company’s personnel total is still in flux.

The total includes over 100 individuals Musk authorized to work for Twitter, Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company, and numerous investors and advisers.

A former employee with a child safety focus claimed to be aware of a small Twitter team still tackling the issue.

But most of the team’s engineers and product managers have already left.

The employee asked to remain anonymous because she feared retaliation.

By the end of 2021, Twitter employed more than 7,500 people.

According to former employees, layoffs would have been possible even if Musk hadn’t purchased the company.

Child safety groups

Twitter’s ties to outside groups that promote child safety have been cut back under the current management.

The Trust and Safety Council of the social media firm, which was made up of 12 groups and provided advice to Twitter on its campaigns to increase public awareness of child sexual exploitation, was abolished on Monday.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), an organization the US government has tasked with monitoring reports of child sexual abuse content online, claims that not much has changed under Musk’s direction.

NCMEC’s consolidated CSAM reporting system was addressed by the organization’s spokesperson Gavin Portnoy, who said:

“Despite the rhetoric and some of what we’ve seen people posting online, their CyberTipline numbers are almost identical to what they were prior to Musk coming on board.”

Another change observed by Portnoy was the exclusion of Twitter from the organization’s annual social media discussion.

“The previous person was one of the folks who resigned,” he said.

According to Portnoy, Twitter declined when asked if they wanted to send a proxy.


Twitter stated that 86,666 CSAM incidents were found on the platform in 2017, although Portnoy believes the actual number may be higher.

“We’ve always felt that there should have been more reports coming out of Twitter, no matter how you cut it, and just given the sheer number of users that are there,” he said.

Twitter continues to be plagued with child sexual exploitation content, even if it affects most social media sites.

After learning that their advertisements frequently displayed next to harmful content, Twitter’s advertisers left the platform earlier this year.

Last year, a child sex abuse victim and their mother sued the company, claiming they were negligent in their response to information about a video showing the child roaming the site.

Read also: Meta threatens to remove news content on FB

Content moderation

Using automated detection technologies, internal expert teams, and outside contracts, child abuse content must be detected and eliminated in moderation.

The content complies with Twitter’s policies as follows:

“Imagerey and videos, referred to as child pornography, but also written solicitation and other material that promotes child sexual exploitation.”

Several employees and leaders who worked on trust and safety features, as well as improvements to the current platforms, made up Twitter’s engineering staff, which was reduced by more than half as a result of layoffs, firings, and resignations, according to those with knowledge of the situation and internal records.

Twitter’s current head of trust and safety, Ella Irwin, alleges that Musk also let go of contractors when the company migrated to high-tech automation to fulfill its moderation needs.

“You tend to think more bodies equals more safety,” said Portnoy.

“So, I mean, that is disheartening.”

How many Twitter staff are still working on child safety issues remains unknown.


Elon Musk says he can stop child exploitation on Twitter. So far, he’s axed jobs and pushed out watchdogs

Robots prove clinical to restaurant industry this year

Robots: The hospitality industry, and restaurants in particular, have adjusted their strategies to incorporate more technology in recent years.

Recently, more AI has been incorporated into restaurants.

For instance, Chipotle Mexican Grill is testing whether robots can make tortilla chips at some of its branches.

Meanwhile, two Sweetgreen locations intend to automate the creation of their salads.

Starbucks wants to upgrade its coffee-brewing equipment to lighten the workload for its baristas.

The progress so far

In 2022, the restaurant industry announced a number of automation initiatives.

Operators scrambled to find solutions for the diminishing staff and growing wages, which led to the decision.

However, efforts have varied during the course of the year.

It will be years before utilizing robots pays off for businesses or replaces employees, according to experts.

David Henkes, the principal of the restaurant industry analysis firm Technomic, said:

“I think there’s a lot of experimentation that is going to lead us somewhere at some point.”

“But we’re still a very labor intensive, labor-driven industry.”

Early struggles

Prior to the pandemic, hiring and retaining workers was a challenge for restaurants.

Those who were laid off looked for other jobs as the pandemic just made the issue more evident.

The National Restaurant Association reports that a shortage of competent workers prevents three-quarters of restaurants from operating at full capacity.

Although restaurant operators increased pay to entice personnel, the rising cost of food also put pressure on profits.

Automation-focused startups presented themselves as the solution, saying that robots are more dependable than burnt-out humans at completing tasks.

They noted that artificial intelligence allows for more precise drive-thru order entry into computers.

Read also: Tesla’s AI Day introduces Optimus, the company’s first humanoid robot


Most of the announcements in 2022 came from Miso Robotics, which secured $108 million in November.

They were valued at $523 million, according to Pitchbook.

The company’s most significant invention is a robot named Flippy.

Flippy may be configured to prepare chicken wings and burgers for a monthly rental fee of $3,000.

White Castle promised to install 100 additional Flippy models while renovating four locations.

A new tortilla chip-making robot named Chippy is now being tested by Chipotle Mexican Grill at a site in California.

Miso’s CEO, Mike Bell, stated:

“The highest value benefit that we bring to a restaurant is not to reduce their expenses, but to allow them to sell more and generate a profit.”

Flippy hasn’t been able to go past the testing phase at Buffalo Wild Wings after operating there for more than a year.

Other progress

One of the privately held startups that Inspire Brands claimed it collaborated with to automate the frying of chicken wings is called Miso.

Startup Picnic Works produces equipment for adding cheese, sauce, and other condiments on top of pizza.

A Domino’s franchise is now testing the technology in Berlin.

As a starting point, Picnic Works charges $3,250 per month to hire out its equipment.

CEO Clayton Wood claims that the subscription makes the technology more affordable for smaller businesses.

According to Pitchbook, Picnic Works raised $13.8 million at a $58.8 million valuation.

Panera Bread has been testing automated ordering using AI technologies.

It also has a temperature and volume tracking Miso system to improve the quality of the coffee.

“Automation is one word, and a lot of people go right to robotics and a robot flipping burgers or making fries,” said Panera Bread chief digital officer George Hanson.

“That is not our focus.”

Even with the advancements, success is not guaranteed.

Beginning in 2020, Zume ceased employing robots to prepare, cook, and deliver food.

Instead, the company focused on food packaging.


Workers and labor advocates frequently criticize employers for eliminating jobs through the use of robots and automation in the workplace.

Meanwhile, restaurant operators have touted their efforts as a way to improve working conditions and eliminate more challenging tasks.

The process of creating salads will be automated at two new Sweetgreen locations that will be built next year using technology created by the startup Spyce.

The new restaurant model, according to Nic Jammet, co-founder and CCO of Sweetgreen, requires fewer workers for shifts.

Jammet noted that lower turnover rates and more employee satisfaction were secondary advantages.

According to Dalhousie University economist Casey Warman, the industry’s penchant for automation will lead to a permanent drop in the number of workers.

“Once the machines are in place, they’re not going to go backwards, especially if there’s large cost savings,” said Warman.

He continued by saying that the pandemic significantly decreased resistance to automation.

In the early stages of the pandemic, customers were accustomed to grocery store self-checkout lanes and relied on mobile apps to make their food orders.

Ball State University assistant professor Dina Zemke studies consumer perceptions of restaurant automation.

Customers were sick of restaurants’ limited hours and slow service, Zemke noted, because of a labor shortage.

In a third-quarter Technomic study, 22% of the owners of more than 500 restaurants said they were investing in equipment that would eliminate the need for kitchen staff.

19% of households also started using labor-saving technologies for ordering.

Read also: TikTok receives ban on government devices


Although there are benefits to automation, it is still uncertain whether there will be any cost savings.

McDonald’s tested order-taking technology for drive-thrus years ago after acquiring the AI startup Apprente.

Months after announcing the test, the fast food giant sold the unit to IBM as part of a collaboration to improve the technology.

In over twenty Illinois test branches, the voice-ordering program’s accuracy was only 80%, falling short of the targeted 95% accuracy.

During an earnings call this summer, McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski discussed automation.

“The idea of robots and all of those things, while it maybe is great for garnering headlines, it’s not practical in the vast majority of restaurants,” said Kempczinski.

“The economics don’t pencil out. You’re not going to see that as a broad-based solution anytime soon.”

However, the potential for automation in trivial tasks is higher.

White Castle vice president Jamie Richardson asserted that innovations like Coca-Cola Freestyle machines had a bigger impact on sales.

“Sometimes the bigger automation investments we make aren’t as earth shattering,” said Richardson.


Why restaurant chains are investing in robots and what it means for workers

Amazon shares plans to remove 11,000 employees

Amazon is planning a major workforce restructuring.

According to the New York Times, from unnamed sources, the company plans to lay off more than 10,000 employees in trades and technology.

The layoffs could begin as early as this week.

The overhaul would include the workforce responsible for Amazon devices, as well as that of retail and human resources.

The news

The Wall Street Journal published a similar report Monday that Amazon was laying off thousands of workers, citing an anonymous source.

The new ranks Amazon among other tech companies that recently announced massive layoffs.

Most companies chose to make a difficult decision amid general economic uncertainty and the sharp slowdown in demand seen by tech giants during the pandemic.

It was at the start of the pandemic that they were prompted to increase their numbers.

Additionally, Meta announced plans to lay off 11,000 workers last week.

Read also: Elon Musk reveals life after buying Twitter

Amazon shares

In early November, Amazon announced it was freezing the company’s hiring for a few months.

The company cited economic uncertainty and the number of people hired in the past few years.

During the pandemic, Amazon’s workforce grew as consumers and consumption habits shifted towards e-commerce.

However, in its latest earnings report, Amazon’s forecast for its holiday quarter revenue showed it falls below analysts’ expectations.

So far in 2022, Amazon shares are down more than 40% on a broader market decline.

Read also: Google agrees to pay $392 million to 40 states

The industry

Amazon’s potential layoffs come at a critical time for the retail industry as the holiday shopping season nears.

As recession fears and inflationary pressures persist, the National Retail Federation forecasts a 6% to 8% year-over-year sales increase for holiday shopping.

Additionally, in October, Jeff Bezos tweeted about the possibility of a recession, writing:

“The probabilities in this economy tell you to batten down the hatches.”

Last Saturday, Bezos told CNN’s Chloe Melas that the advice applied to businesses and consumers.

“Take some risks off the table,” he said.

“Just a little bit of risk reduction could make the difference.”


New York Times: Amazon plans to lay off thousands of employees