Elon Musk
Elon MuskREUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, on Saturday issued an open letter to Elon Musk, the new owner of Twitter, urging him to "ensure human rights are central to the management of Twitter".

"Twitter is part of a global revolution that has transformed how we communicate," Türk said in the letter quoted by Reuters. "But I write with concern and apprehension about our digital public square and Twitter's role in it."

"Like all companies, Twitter needs to understand the harms associated with its platform and take steps to address them," he added. "Respect for our shared human rights should set the guardrails for the platform's use and evolution."

"In short, I urge you to ensure human rights are central to the management of Twitter under your leadership," the High Commissioner said.

Musk, who officially took over Twitter last week, fired at least four top executives at the company upon taking over.

On Friday, Twitter laid off half its workforce and tweets by staff of the social media company said the team responsible for human rights was among those affected, a development which Türk described as not "an encouraging start".