According to an internal memo sent to a team of Twitter employees, shopping features on Twitter pose a content moderation risk and could be used “in a manner that may lead to personal or social harm.”
Memorandum, a part of which was received by ledgeAccording to a knowledgeable person, a group of Twitter employees from different teams were sent in early July. In the email, some existing and not-yet-released features of Twitter Shopping are classified as high risk, with the email warning that content moderation is not prioritized in the purchase.
First launched last summer, Twitter Shopping allows brands to list items for sale and pin a handful of products to the top of a merchant’s profile. Unlike similar features on Instagram, users can’t buy products directly on Twitter – items for sale link to a merchant’s website instead. An expanded version of the Shop module was introduced earlier this year, allowing sellers to list and display up to 50 products in their storefronts, and was available to all US merchants as of June.
In a section of the memo titled “Risk Assessment,” several elements of Twitter’s e-commerce tools are classified as “high.” A high-risk concern are merchant-generated areas such as shop names and descriptions, which the memo warns could be used in harmful ways by bad actors.
Twitter’s Shop feature allows anyone with a professional account selling items in the US to manually add products for sale to their profile. When selecting an item to appear in an extended Twitter shop, merchants can add a custom shop name and description directly to the Twitter dashboard. It is in these areas that those working on the purchase say there are risks.
The memo paints a bare-bones process for viewing and removing potentially abusive or harmful content on Twitter purchases. According to the memo, the platform does not yet have a policy on what is considered a shop name or description violation, and it lacks guidance on how breaches should be handled. The memo also notes that Twitter lacks tools to detect violations in store names and descriptions and that users have no way of reporting storefronts for content in these areas.
A main selling point of Twitter’s shopping features is the ability to share, and the company has introduced other updates like reminders that help customers Was informed Tweet about new releases from more brands. Currently, Twitter users have the ability to click into merchant shops, view products, and click through to merchant websites, but sharing storefronts is not yet possible. The internal memo lists Storefront’s ability to share as “high” on its risk assessment, saying that if the feature were released it could further increase harmful content, making it possible for anyone to violate Twitter rules. Increases visibility of content.
According to the memo, Twitter has some automatic identification mechanisms in place for individual products listed for sale. But proactive measures to detect breaches are “limited” and the company has minimal staff and tools for further review.
Shareable shops therefore increase the likelihood that users may see infringing shops, or infringing goods contained in a store, the memo reads. “It may also encourage bad actors to amplify harmful or infringing goods by tweeting and sharing their shop.”
in a statement to ledge, Twitter spokesperson Lauren Alexander confirmed the memo’s authenticity and said it was part of a new feature evaluation led by the Product Trust team. Alexander says the assessments are designed so that different teams can provide input to ensure new product releases are safe.
“We are always working to improve the security of our service and this is especially true for adding new products and features,” says Alexander. “We have been intentional about taking the time to test out our new shopping surfaces so that – before we expand or expand into new markets – we have access to and better inform our approach to health and safety. There is a learning opportunity to develop additional infrastructure and policy needs.”
Twitter has been trying to diversify its revenue sources beyond advertising in recent years, experimenting with a paid subscription service, ticketed live broadcasts on Space, and Paid Super Followers, While the platform is rolling out and expanding its commerce tools, it lags behind other social networks like Instagram and TikTok; In his attempt to acquire Twitter, Elon Musk indicated that payments had the potential to be a substantial part of the company’s business.
Earlier this week, former Twitter security chief Peter “Mudge” Zatko said the company faced lax security and bot removal issues, among other problems, in a comprehensive whistleblower report. On receiving the news of the complaint, Reuters reported that the platform will combine a “health” team working on reducing misinformation and other toxic content with a services team that works on spam accounts.