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TikTok CEO Argues Content Moderation Vital as Twitter Cuts Staff

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The chief executive officer of hit video app TikTok suggested Elon Musk and Twitter Inc. are heading down a risky path.

Shou Zi Chew, whose company has come under fire from U.S. officials, emphasized the importance of investing in sufficient staff to handle content moderation and security. He made the comments in response to questions about whether TikTok could operate effectively if it fired half its staff, the way Twitter has under Musk.

Read More: Behind TikTok’s Boom: A Legion of Traumatized, $10-A-Day Content Moderators

“I hope that day never comes,” Chew said with a laugh at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore on Wednesday. “The way we are organized is one where we don’t need to lay off half the workforce to achieve the efficiency levels that we want to achieve.”

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Pressed on whether he could run TikTok with half the employees it has now, he turned to the value of proper staffing. He said the company has tens of thousands of employees in content moderation.

Read More: TikTok’s Subcontractor in Colombia Under Investigation for Traumatic Work

“For many tech companies including ourselves one of the largest teams that you will have is your trust and safety team,” Chew said. “That is an investment that is definitely worthwhile if you want to keep the platform a very safe platform.”

He pointed out that such people design policies for the platform and complement the algorithms used to serve up videos. For all social media, he said it’s critical to do everything possible to keep the platform safe.

Chew was quick to add that he’s not a Musk critic.

“I’m not sure it’s very fair to comment on where he’s taking the company at this point,” he said. “I think it’s a bit too early to tell.”

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