…By Henry George for TDPel Media.
The recent pirating of the Super Mario Bros. movie on Twitter raises questions about the effectiveness of the platform’s moderation process.
Despite having grossed over $1 billion at the box office, the film’s piracy on Twitter was not quickly detected.
The account responsible for uploading the movie, ‘vids that go hard’, had 1.1 million followers before being suspended, indicating that the violation was not subtle.
The lack of action from Twitter for over seven hours before Forbes reported the incident reveals serious weaknesses in the platform’s moderation process.
This level of piracy is unlikely to happen on other mainstream user-generated video platforms such as YouTube, which has a more effective approach to preventing copyright content from being shared.
YouTube uses a combination of human moderation and automatic filters to detect illegal content during the upload process.
In contrast, Twitter is vulnerable to copyright violations for two reasons linked to Elon Musk’s leadership.
The first reason is Musk’s cost-cutting measures since he bought the social network.
He has overseen an 81% drop in full-time staff, and much of Twitter’s content moderation, which was already lax by social-network standards, has been partly outsourced to contractors.
Twitter’s original 5,500 contractors have been reduced to an estimated 4,400.
The reduction in human resources may explain the slow reaction to the copyright breach.
The second reason why Twitter is vulnerable to copyright violations is the recent changes in its policy on video uploads.
Until recently, Twitter only allowed clips that were 140 seconds (two minutes and 20 seconds) long to be uploaded.
This practical limitation made video piracy a niche concern on the platform.
However, longer videos have become a perk of Twitter Blue, which costs £7.99 per month.
Musk increased the video cap to 10 minutes and now allows videos up to an hour long.
The recent piracy of the Super Mario Bros. movie indicates that Twitter needs to put filters in place to catch such violations in the future.
Although Musk sees himself as a free speech absolutist, copyright infringement is a serious legal issue on the internet.
Leaving Twitter vulnerable to legal action from studios around the world is not an ideological hill he wants to die on.