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Twitter’s Leaked Internal Memo Says Its Shopping Features Pose Content Moderation Risks

A leaked memo sent out to a group of Twitter employees has started raising plenty of questions in people’s minds. According to the email, Twitter Shops poses great risks for content moderation.

A small chunk of the memo was recently received by The Verge. It was sent out in July of this year to various teams in the firm. And that’s where it was announced that some released and not yet released features for shopping are put into high-risk categories. It also sends out a bold warning about how content moderation is yet to be prioritized across the shopping tab.

We first heard about Twitter’s shopping when it enabled different brands to put certain items for sale and then pin a few other products present on the merchant’s profile. But it’s quite different from other apps like Instagram.

For instance, it won’t let users many any purchases directly through the app. Instead, you can follow the link that will redirect you to the merchant’s webpage. Meanwhile, one expanded version of the shop had been introduced during the early part of this year. Sellers were given the chance to introduce expanded shop modules during the year’s start as well.

These merchants could put up to 50 products on the site directly, allowing them to be available for purchase in June.

There was even one section that had the title, ‘Risk Assessment’ that entailed a few elements of the app’s e-commerce tool. Some major risks or concerns had to do with fields generated by merchants. They had names of shops and associated descriptions. The memo warned that this would end up being used by various actions in the most dangerous of ways.

With Twitter Shops, anyone and everyone that has professional selling accounts for products available in the US can manually add different goods for sale across their profile. Whenever a particular product is highlighted, a customized shop name is included with descriptions on the app’s dashboard.

And in case you’re wondering, these particular fields are related to high risks. Clearly, the leaked internal documents sent out to the firm’s employees are a warning of what needs to be done to help remove content that’s harmful and abusive across the app. As of yet, there’s no specific policy seen on the app that talks about shop names or violations or how those violations need to be handled.

The memo is very clear about how there are no tools on Twitter to detect people making violations in the shop names. There is no place where the users are given the chance to report problems or particular stores in the fields provided.

One of the biggest attractions that really make this app popular has to do with its shareability factor. Hence, you’ll find the firm introducing various alerts and updates via tweets about the latest offerings from various online merchants.

On Twitter Shops, you can view the product by clicking on the image. But no direct sales are yet allowed. And while the app may have various mechanisms to detect violations, they’re quite limited in design and any tools need a proper review too.

Twitter is working hard to practice diversification that goes above and beyond the usual advertising. Hence, to generate more revenue, it ventured into e-Commerce, paid subscriptions, Super Follows, and live broadcasts via tickets. And while it’s been experimenting with several tools as well, it continues to lag behind major social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and more.


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