Then, in an interview with Fox News Wednesday morning, Kellyanne Conway singled out one Twitter employee by name: Yoel Roth, the company’s head of site integrity. Referring to him as the “head of integrity,” Conway spelled out his Twitter handle and said “somebody in San Francisco go wake him up and tell him he's about to get more followers.”On Fox & Friends, Kellyanne Conway appears to direct online harassment at Twitter's head of site integrity, Yoel Roth: "Somebody in San Francisco will wake him up and tell him he's about to get a lot more followers." pic.twitter.com/H9ceUu6Ezv— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) May 27, 2020
Conway also claimed that Roth is “constantly attacking Trump voters,” an apparent reference to years-old tweets criticizing the Trump Administration. Fox News also seized on the comments and stated that Roth was “in charge” of Twitter’s decision to fact-check the president. Trump’s sons and Trump’s official campaign account also shared tweets singling out Roth to their millions of followers.
Twitter confirmed that Roth was not singlehandedly responsible for the decision to fact check Trump. Roth is part of Twitter’s larger trust and safety team, which makes policy decisions. As others have pointed out, Roth primarily deals with platform abuse — misuse of the company’s API, spam and bot campaigns — not fact checking or content decisions.
“No one person at Twitter is responsible for our policies or enforcement actions, and it's unfortunate to see individual employees targeted for company decisions,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement.
But Twitter’s comments have done little to quiet the angry mob of Trump supporters, many of whom have long accused the company of being biased against conservatives. Over the last day, Roth has been inundated with harassment and even death threats, Protocol reported.
For Twitter, the incident is yet another reminder of how much work it still needs to do if it hopes to fix its harassment problem. For all of the new reply-limiting controls and anti-bullying tools, there’s little any one user can do when thousands of users swarm one person all at once.