There has been fevered talk of Twitter's imminent demise since billionaire Elon Musk took over

Twitter disbanded its Trust and Safety Council on Monday, less than an hour before its planned meeting with executives, The Washington Post reports.

The Trust and Safety Council was first developed in 2016 when social media companies were facing widespread pushback from the public and policy leaders about the spread of harassment and misinformation online.

The council was a volunteer-based advisory group of experts and human and civil rights organizations that addressed topics ranging from free speech to child exploitation online. The Twitter link once dedicated to the Trust and Safety Council now takes users to a webpage that says "Nothing to see here," with a picture of a poodle in a fancy chair.

An email sent to members with the subject "Thank You" and signed by "Twitter" informed members that the council was being dissolved. Some council members have shared the email with news outlets, like The Washington Post but spoke on the condition of anonymity out of concern of retaliation.

"As Twitter moves into a new phase, we are reevaluating how best to bring external insights into our product and policy development work. As part of this process, we have decided that the Trust and Safety Council is not the best structure to do this," the email reads. "We are grateful for your engagement, advice, and collaboration in recent years and wish you every success in the future."

Twitter was purchased for $44 billion by Elon Musk in October. Musk declared that "comedy is now legal on Twitter." Since his declaration, the social media platform has experienced a staffing and cultural overhaul, with Musk laying off half the staff in November, dissolving the executive board, and now charging users for verified check marks on their profiles.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), one of the organizations on the now-defunct Trust and Safety Council, released a statement Monday saying it was concerned by the move.

"Safety online can mean survival offline. Today's decision to dissolve the Trust and Safety Council is cause for grave concern, particularly as it is coupled with increasingly hostile statements by Twitter owner Elon Musk about journalists and the media," said CPJ President Jodie Ginsberg in the statement.

Following Musk's takeover of the company, Twitter saw a sharp increase in harassment, antisemitism and abuse. Yoel Roth was Twitter's head of Trust and Safety until he left the organization in November. He was on the frontlines of combatting increased hate on the platform and was communicative to the public about how the company was managing content.

Roth focused on combating the spread of targeted harassment and attempted to stay with the company through the Musk transition. After leaving Twitter, he posted an op-ed in the New York Times explaining his decision and the direction he sees Twitter moving toward under Musk's leadership.

"A Twitter whose policies are defined by edict has little need for a trust and safety function dedicated to its principled development," Roth wrote. Since leaving, Musk has been particularly focused on Roth.

Musk tweeted about Roth's academic writing about child sexual activity and the internet, causing Musk's supporters to attack Roth and those connected to him. Roth recently fled his home due to threats from Musk's followers.