Matt O'Brien and Barbara Ortutay anticipated that Elon Musk might disband Twitter's Trust and Safety Council, a group of external advisors who helped the platform with complicated content moderation decisions -- and they broke the story as a result.
O'Brien, based in Providence, and New York-based Ortutay concluded after billionaire Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion that the trust council’s future was in doubt because of Musk’s free-speech beliefs.
They reached out and continually kept in contact with members of the group, which included around 100 independent civil, human rights and other organizations. Twitter under its former owners had created the body in 2016 to address hate speech, child exploitation, suicide and other problems on the platform. In addition, Ortutay and O’Brien had circled on their calendars a December date when the council was supposed to meet next.
Members of the group did not want to speak by name, fearing that Musk, known for trolling users on the platform, might retaliate. But as soon as an email went out disbanding the council, multiple sources reached out to O'Brien and Ortutay sharing snapshots of the email.
As a result, AP was the first to break the story. Other news outlets also cited AP.
Not only did the duo put AP ahead on a critical development that affected the shape and future of the platform, but the story became one of the most used and highly engaged stories that AP produced. The story was the top-viewed story of the day on AP News, and the ninth-most-viewed story on AP News for the entire week -- a week that included Argentina's World Cup win.
For smart foresight and the steady source work that made their scoop possible, O’Brien and Ortutay are Best of the Week – 1st Winner.