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UN Chief calls on Elon Musk to ensure Human Rights at Twitter.

Elon Musk has been urged to “ensure human rights are key” to the administration of his new firm, Twitter, in an open letter from the UN human rights chief published on Saturday.

The letter follows claims that all but two employees of the company’s ethical AI unit and the entire human rights division have been fired.

According to Volker Turk, the developments are hardly “an optimistic start.”

“Twitter is a part of a global movement that has revolutionized communication. However, I write this with worry and trepidation about our online public square and Twitter’s part in it “Turk wrote.

“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.”

Turk encouraged Musk to make sure that Twitter’s management under his direction places a high priority on human rights.

He outlined key principles for the protection of human rights, with free expression protection at the top of the list.

Turk encouraged Twitter to defend the freedoms of speech and privacy to the utmost extent permitted by the law and to report on any demands from the government that would violate those freedoms in an open and honest manner.

The rights chief asserted that free expression does not come without consequences and that damaging misinformation, such as that circulated by social media during the coronavirus outbreak about immunizations, “results in real world problems.”

“Twitter has a responsibility to avoid amplifying content that results in harm to other people’s rights,” said Turk.

He stressed there is no place for hatred that incites discrimination, hostility or violence.

He noted that every effort must be made to delete such content as soon as it is posted, saying that Twitter’s content moderation procedures “should continue to bar such hatred on the site.”

The human rights chief stressed the importance of transparency, saying that more research is required to fully comprehend how social media affects our cultures.

Turk claimed that the proper protection of privacy is a requirement for free speech.

“It is critical that Twitter refrain from intrusive user tracking and accumulating associated data and that it rejects, to the best degree permitted by relevant laws, arbitrary requests from governments for user data,” he said.

Languages and contextual knowledge, he claimed, are essential.

In Turk’s words, “Twitter’s obligations to uphold a rights-respecting and secure platform apply not just to English-language content, but globally.”

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