Twitter's Former Head of Trust and Safety Forced to Flee Home After Elon Musk's Tweets: Reports

The social media platform's Trust and Safety advisory council was suddenly disbanded that same day, per multiple reports

Elon Musk
Elon Musk. Photo: PATRICK PLEUL/POOL/AFP/Getty

The former head of Trust and Safety at Twitter has reportedly left his home after Elon Musk criticized him online.

Yoel Roth, who resigned from the company in November, has been facing online attacks and threats of violence following the latest update in the so-called "Twitter Files" published by journalist Bari Weiss, according to CNN, which cited an unnamed source familiar with the matter.

The report suggests that Roth was one of several Twitter employees involved in discussing the decision to ban former President Donald Trump from the platform following the attack on the U.S Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The alleged threats against Roth have reportedly increased after Musk, 51, apparently supported tweets suggesting, without merit, that the former Twitter employee was sympathetic toward pedophilia, per CNN's report.

According to The Washington Post, Musk's Twitter activity misrepresented Roth's academic writing about sexuality and children and preceded threats to people Roth had replied to on Twitter as well as professors who reviewed a dissertation he wrote.

The Post also reports that Roth as well as his family were forced from their home in the wake of the online harassment.

A representative for Twitter did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

Elon Musk attends TIME Person of the Year on December 13, 2021 in New York City.
Elon Musk. Theo Wargo/Getty

The Trust and Safety Council — created in 2016 to address harmful content on the platform such as hate speech, child exploitation, self-harm and more — was suddenly dissolved Monday night after weeks of unraveling, according to The Washington Post and the Associated Press.

Multiple members of the advisory group told the outlets that they received an email informing them that the council had been dissolved shortly before a scheduled meeting with Twitter representatives.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.

The email, viewed by the AP, said Twitter was "reevaluating how best to bring external insights" and claimed the council was "not the best structure to do this."

"Our work to make Twitter a safe, informative place will be moving faster and more aggressively than ever before and we will continue to welcome your ideas going forward about how to achieve this goal," the email reportedly said.

Twitter logo. Chesnot/Getty Images

Alex Holmes, a member of the now-disbanded council, shared a similar account Monday evening on Twitter. He said the handling of the situation and the treatment of council members has been "unfortunate and unacceptable."

"Twitter's Trust and Safety Council was a group of volunteers who over many years gave up their time when consulted by Twitter staff to offer advice on a wide range of online harms and safety issues," Holmes wrote. "At no point was it a governing body or decision making."

Last Thursday, three members of the council announced their resignation due to the ongoing decline of users' "safety and wellbeing" on Twitter, "contrary to claims by Elon Musk," they wrote in a tweet. Two of the members had been on the council since its inception in 2016.

"A Twitter ruled by diktat is not the place for us," the trio said in the letter, shared by one of the outgoing council members, Anne Collier. "Content moderation is a nuanced business that requires full transparency, adherence to policies informed by best practices and advice from trusted partners on the ground as well as dedicated resources."

Musk, who purchased Twitter for $44 billion earlier this fall, responded to Collier's tweet the next day by claiming that the council "refused to take action on child exploitation for years!"

However, as the AP noted, the council worked with various organizations — including National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Rati Foundation and YAKIN (Youth Adult Survivors and Kin in Need) — to address the very issue Musk claimed was being ignored.

Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey responded to Musk and informed him that the claim was "false," though Musk later pushed back.

Various members of the council, including those who resigned and those who remained, faced increased amounts of harassment in wake of Musk's comment.

In an email on Monday, some council members said the false accusations coming from Twitter leaders was "endangering current and former Council members." The council was disbanded a short time after.

One member told the Post that Musk's decision to upend the council impacts "years of institutional memory that we on the council have brought" to Twitter. "Getting external experts and advocates looking at your services makes you smarter," they added.

Related Articles