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Musk’s ‘Twitter Files’ offer a glimpse of the raw, complicated and thankless task of moderation

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Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, is feverishly promoting his “Twitter Files”: selected internal communications from the company, laboriously tweeted out by sympathetic amanuenses. But Musk’s obvious conviction that he has released some partisan kraken is mistaken — far from conspiracy or systemic abuse, the files are a valuable peek behind the curtain of moderation at scale, hinting at the Sisyphean labors undertaken by every social media platform.
For a decade, companies like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook have performed an elaborate dance to keep the details of their moderation processes equally out of reach of bad actors, regulators, and the press.
To reveal too much would be to expose the processes to abuse by spammers and scammers (who indeed take advantage of every leaked or published detail), while to rev …

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