Amid mass Twitter layoffs, UN urges Elon Musk to ‘ensure human rights are central’ to company’s management

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In an open letter published on Saturday, UN human rights chief Volker Turk has urged Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk to ensure that respect for human rights is at the core of the social network and its management. This comes as just days after taking over Twitter, the Tesla CEO sacked half of the company’s staff.

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The UN human rights chief in his letter said that reports of Musk laying off the entire human rights team and “all but two of the ethical AI team”, according to him was not an encouraging start and that he was writing with “concern and apprehension about our digital public square and Twitter’s role in it”.

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“Like all companies, Twitter needs to understand the harms associated with its platform and take steps to address them. Respect for our shared human rights should set the guardrails for the platform’s use and evolution. In short, I urge you to ensure human rights are central to the management of Twitter under your leadership,” wrote Turk.

The letter was shared on Twitter by the new UN Human Rights chief. He outlined six key human rights principles and urged Musk to prioritise them in the management of Twitter.

Also read | Amid mass layoffs at Twitter, founder Jack Dorsey tweets apology

The six principles he recommends are: Protecting free speech across the globe; keeping a check on the spread of harmful disinformation; monitoring hate speech that is capable of inciting discrimination, hostility or violence; transparency; prioritising privacy; finally ensuring that these principles are in place not just for English language content but across all languages.

(With inputs from agencies)

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