Twitter’s former head of trust and safety was reportedly forced to flee his home due to rapidly intensifying threats from Elon Musk and his supporters.
Yoel Roth, who resigned from Twitter in November, and his family left their Bay Area home this weekend over safety concerns spurred in part by the release of the “Twitter Files.”
Roth has faced mounting threats following the release of the site’s internal documents, which only intensified over the weekend when Musk misrepresented Roth’s academic writing in a tweet, baselessly claiming Roth has a favorable view of pedophilia.
“Looks like Yoel is arguing in favor of children being able to access adult Internet services in his PhD thesis,” Musk tweeted Saturday with a screenshot of Roth’s dissertation, the Washington Post reported.
A barrage of threats were sent to people Roth had replied to on Twitter, and the menacing became so intense that several of his family and friends had to delete their Twitter accounts.
Musk’s supporters also directed their online harassment toward professors who reviewed Roth’s dissertation, which was written in 2016, and his graduate school, the University of Pennsylvania.
Roth, who is gay, suggested in his dissertation that gay dating apps like Grindr should adopt safety policies to accommodate teenagers — who already use the apps underage — as a form of harm reduction on social media.
Roth’s role as head of trust and safety at Twitter involved him working on sensitive issues including the suspension of former President Donald Trump’s account in 2021.
With the release of the “Twitter Files,” journalist Bari Weiss shared a series of screenshots allegedly showing internal conversations between Roth and other employees in which they discussed whether to ban Trump’s account, CNN reported.
Musk had previously been supportive of Roth, but his tune changed when he left the company two weeks after his takeover.
In October, when Roth was still employed by Twitter, Musk was asked about some of his old tweets.
“We’ve all made some questionable tweets, me more than most, but I want to be clear that I support Yoel. My sense is that he has high integrity, and we are all entitled to our political beliefs,” Musk tweeted.
The incident coincides with Twitter abruptly dissolving its Trust and Safety Council Monday night, further indicating the unraveling of the social media network at the hands of Musk.