Shopping On Twitter Could Lead To Individual Or Societal Harm, Leaked Internal Memo Shows

Twitter shopping, which allows brands to list items for sale and tag products at the top of a merchant’s profile, has content moderation risks and can lead to ‘individual or societal harm’, a report has found.

According to an internal company memo, obtained by The Verge, several elements of Twitter’s e-commerce tool are categorised high risk under “risk assessment”. “One high-risk concern is that merchant-generated fields like shop names and descriptions could be used by bad actors in harmful ways,” read the memo.

Unlike Instagram, Twitter users can’t buy the product directly on the platform as clicking on items for sale takes them to the merchant’s website.

A key upcoming feature of Twitter’s shopping is shareability, and the memo also listed this feature as high risk.

It said the shareability feature “could lead to harmful content being amplified further, increasing the visibility of content that violates Twitter rules”.

“Shareable Shops therefore increase the likelihood that users may see violative Shops, or violative goods contained in a Shop,” the memo read.

“It may also incentivise bad actors to amplify harmful or violative goods by tweeting and sharing their own Shop.”

A company spokesperson said in a statement that the memo “was part of a new feature assessment led by the product trust team”.

“We’re always working to improve the safety of our service and that is particularly true for the addition of new products and features,” the spokesperson said.

Twitter’s shop feature allows anyone with a professional account selling items in the US to manually add products for sale to their profile.

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