Elon Musk’s Twitter 2.0 disabled its autocomplete feature after reports of it recommending gory videos related to animal abuse and war footage started flying around on social media.
What Happened: In response to users’ complaints about the recommendations of macabre videos depicting animal abuse and war footage, Twitter has reportedly disabled its autocomplete feature in the search bar.
The microblogging site introduced the autocomplete feature in 2012, saying, “You can select your query from the drop-down menu even before you finish typing it,” – similar features are already available on Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google Search, YouTube, Amazon.com, Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) e-commerce site and Meta Platforms Inc.’s (NASDAQ:META) Instagram.
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However, on Wednesday evening, netizens noticed a peculiar trend where seemingly innocuous search terms such as “kitten” and “dog” would return recommendations for gory videos instead.
Unsurprisingly, some users went on Bluesky, Jack Dorsey-backed Twitter rival, to ask Yoel Roth, the site’s former head of trust and safety, if there was “anything in place to keep stuff like that from autocompleting.”
Roth said that the recently uncovered flaws in Twitter autocomplete recommendations suggest that “something serious broke.”
Later on Thursday, users started pointing out that the platform had disabled the feature entirely, leading to the rumors that the Musk-led company could not find a way to resolve the issue.
Benzinga independently verified the functionality of the feature and found that search recommendations on Twitter now only suggest accounts.
Why It’s Important: Following Musk’s acquisition of Twitter for $44 billion last year, the tech billionaire has implemented significant changes to the platform. This includes introducing new subscription-only features, the readmission of controversial users and the implementation of substantial staffing reductions.
The social media platform has since suffered several outages linked to Musk’s decision to close offices and reduce the existing workforce substantially.
On Thursday, Musk announced that he is stepping down as Twitter CEO and his replacement will start within six weeks.
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