Twitter’s shopping features pose a content moderation risk and can be used “in ways that result in individual or societal harm,” according to an internal memo sent to a group of Twitter employees.
The memo, part of which was obtained by The Verge, was sent out in early July to a group of Twitter employees from different teams, according to a person familiar with it. The letter categorized certain existing and not-yet-released features of Twitter Shopping as high risk, with the letter warning that content moderation was not a priority.
In the memo section entitled “risk assessment”, several elements of the Twitter e-commerce tool are categorized as “high”. One high-risk target is vendor-generated fields, such as store names and descriptions, which the memo warns can be misused by hackers.
First launched last summer, Twitter’s shopping feature allows brands to post a list of items for sale and pin multiple items to the top of a seller’s profile. Users can’t buy an item directly on Twitter – instead, items for sale lead to the seller’s website.
The memo paints a picture of a weak search and removal process for potentially offensive or harmful content in the Twitter stores. According to the memo, the platform does not yet have a policy on what counts as a violation of a store name or description, and no guidance on how to deal with violations.