Elon Musk's social media platform, X has recently taken a bold step by disabling the feature that enabled users to report misinformation. This has stirred controversy and debate among users and regulators alike, especially considering the prevailing concerns regarding the proliferation of misinformation on online platforms. The European Union has been vocal in its criticism, pointing out that X has been a conduit for more misinformation compared to its competitors in the social media landscape. The platform has been under the microscope as regulatory bodies intensify their scrutiny on the operations and policies of X, evaluating the platform's commitment to fostering a reliable and safe online environment.
TrustLab, a third-party analysis firm, has found that X has the highest discoverability of posts containing misinformation and disinformation. This means that for any given search containing “disinformation keywords”, a higher proportion of search results contain misinformation and disinformation. According to TrustLab's report, which covers disinformation across EU member states such as Poland, Slovakia, and Spain, the proportion of disinformation actors was also highest on X.
Reduction in Election Integrity Team
Adding another layer to the unfolding narrative, X announced a significant reduction in its global team assigned to address disinformation and election fraud. This move entailed cutting around half of the team members, including the group's leader. The decision is particularly striking given that it was made less than a month after X publicly declared its intention to expand the team to fortify its defenses against online threats. The timing coincides with a period of renewed criticism from entities such as the European Commission. Meanwhile, other social media behemoths are actively enhancing their measures to tackle disinformation, particularly with the U.S. presidential elections on the horizon.
In the midst of the controversy, Elon Musk took to X to address the criticism surrounding the team reductions.
Oh you mean the “Election Integrity” Team that was undermining election integrity? Yeah, they're gone.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 27, 2023
Questions are being raised about whether this response reflects a broader stance of X towards maintaining election integrity and addressing misinformation and how this will shape the platform's strategies and policies moving forward.