Elon Musk is hiring 100 content moderators to combat child porn on X – after culling 1,200 ‘trust and safety specialists’ in his $44B takeover

Elon Musk hires moderators to police X for child pornography ahead of a Senate hearing on protecting children online after firing 1,200 ‘trust and safety’ specialists during his takeover.

The social media company, formerly known as Twitter, plans to hire 100 new workers to monitor the site for child abuse-related content.

X will create a new ‘Trust and Safety Center of Excellence’ in Austin, Texas, where the new moderation team will work.

The social media giant was recently exposed by Australia’s online safety commissioner, eSafety, for firing 80 percent of its security engineers since Musk took over in 2022.

Musk’s decision to hire 100 employees for the new security team comes ahead of the Jan. 31 Senate hearing on protecting children online.

Elon Musk hires moderators to police X on child pornography ahead of Senate hearing on protecting children online after firing 1,200 'trust and safety' specialists during his Twitter takeover

Elon Musk hires moderators to police X on child pornography ahead of Senate hearing on protecting children online after firing 1,200 ‘trust and safety’ specialists during his Twitter takeover

Social media company X (formerly known as Twitter) plans to hire 100 new workers to monitor the site for child abuse-related content

Social media company X (formerly known as Twitter) plans to hire 100 new workers to monitor the site for child abuse-related content

The eSafety Commission obtained a detailed breakdown of software engineers using Australia’s groundbreaking Online Safety Act and found that 1,213 specialist ‘trust and safety staff’, including contractors, have left X since it was acquired by Musk.

Australia’s eSafety Commissioner Julia Inman Grant, who previously worked at Twitter, said it was the first time detailed figures had been released.

“To take away 80 percent of these specialist engineers would be like Volvo – known for its safety standards – wiping out all their designers or engineers,” Inman Grant told AFP.

“You have a perfect storm. You drastically lower your defenses, and you put repeat offenders back on the platform,’ she said.

Australia has led the global effort to regulate social media, forcing tech companies to outline how they tackle issues such as hate speech and child sexual abuse.

In October last year, the eSafety Commission slapped X with a AUD$610,500 (US$388,000) fine, saying it had failed to show how it was cracking down on child pornography.

X ignored the deadline to pay the fine before launching ongoing legal action to reverse it.

The social media platform has now made the decision to hire more content moderators just ahead of the US Senate hearing that is also expected to grill CEOs of Meta, Snap, TikTok and Discord over the sexual exploitation of children online.

In a blog post Friday, X said it suspended 12.4 million accounts last year for violating its rules against child sexual exploitation.

This is a dramatic increase from the 2.3 million account suspensions in 2022.

X made the decision to hire more content moderators just ahead of a US Senate hearing expected to grill CEOs of X and other social media platforms about child safety online

X made the decision to hire more content moderators just ahead of a US Senate hearing expected to grill CEOs of X and other social media platforms about child safety online

The Musk-owned social networking site will create a new 'Trust and Safety Center of Excellence' in Austin, Texas, where the new moderation team will work.  The current X HQ (pictured) is in San Francisco

The Musk-owned social networking site will create a new ‘Trust and Safety Center of Excellence’ in Austin, Texas, where the new moderation team will work. The current X HQ (pictured) is in San Francisco

Members of the public were quick to call out X for firing the moderators in the first place in light of new hiring plans.

“Guess a lot of those people who got fired for doing nothing actually did something,” a user on Reddit commented on the news.

“So basically… announce it, mention it during the hearings, and then never actually follow up on it, but go on to mention how they plan to use it when questioned by the media, ‘ said another.

Musk has faced previous backlash for trying to reduce moderation on the social media site.

Musk has faced previous backlash for trying to reduce moderation on the social media site

Musk has faced previous backlash for trying to reduce moderation on the social media site

The X owner sought to prevent a California law regulating online content moderation that would have required social media companies to disclose moderation information in detailed annual reports.

X faced controversy last week after explicit AI-generated photos of pop star Taylor Swift were shared on the site.

In a dramatic move, X blocked any searches for Taylor Swift’s name in the fallout from the photos.

The dozens of graphic images were originally uploaded to Celeb Jihad and showed Swift in a series of sexual acts while clothed Kansas City Chief memorabilia and in the stadium.

One image of Swift shared on X was viewed 47 million times before the account was suspended, according to a New York Times report. The company was widely criticized for its seemingly slow response to the emergence of the photos, eventually suspending the account where it originated​​​​