X (Twitter) 'Drops' Electoral Misinformation Tool

John Lister's picture

X, formerly known as Twitter, appears to have scaled back a tool for reporting election misinformation. The tool appears to now only be available in Europe.

The BBC notes the tool launched in Australia, South Korea and the United States in 2021 and expanded to other countries last year. However, a non-profit group says it's now only available in European Union countries. (Source: bbc.co.uk)

Users on the former Twitter can report posts which they believe breach the site's guidelines, but must choose a specific category. That includes breaches such as spam or hate speech, but no longer election misinformation.

Aussies Say "Oi!"

That's gone down badly with the Australian branch of Reset.Tech, a group which describes itself as a "global initiative working to counter digital threats to democracy." The timing is particularly sensitive as the country is a couple of weeks away from a controversial referendum on a proposed constitutional amendment.

The group notes that electoral misinformation remains a breach of X's policies; it's simply no longer possible to report such breaches. According to the group, this violates a commitment that the then-Twitter made to an Australian code of practice that says users must be able to report all content that breaches the company's policies. (Source: reset.tech)

It's possible X has decided to remove the reporting and instead rely on a separate feature that lets users add a "Community Note" that appears beside potentially misleading posts, adding context. The company says that these notes will be displayed to all users if "enough contributors from different points of view rate that note as helpful."

EU Cracks Down

The Australian controversy could be a test case for how X, now owned by Elon Musk, will address electoral misinformation in next year's US elections.

The company hasn't yet commented publicly on the complaints or why it appears to have restricted the reporting tool to European Union countries. However, new EU rules took effect for major tech companies in August. Among other measures, the companies are legally required to mitigate against the risk of election disinformation and misinformation.

What's Your Opinion?

Should big tech platforms with user content take steps to reduce or remove electoral misinformation? Does it matter if individual users can report apparent breaches? Should this be a legal matter or is it best to leave it up to users to quit a site if they don't trust its algorithms?

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beach.boui's picture

Twitter, or whatever it's known as in it's current identity crisis, may now be considered more evil than good. Mr. Punkass Musk has put himself in a position to have more political power than he deserves. He has NOT been elected to any position in government. Yet, his social media platform, used by many with no social integrity, will now be far easier to exploit as a propaganda tool for those who wish to spread lies and misinformation to the voting public. Congress needs to act. They threatened to regulate social media in the past, but keeping it a pass because they're too stupid or too lazy to anticipate the consequences. The American voter has demonstrated already how stupid they are and that they have little ability to discern fact from fiction. Social media is a gift to Russia, China, Iran or anyone else who wishes to subvert the truth by spreading conspiracy theories, propaganda and lies. Elon Musk is not a friend of the United States.

ron_weiskopf's picture

The same could be said (with more justification) about George Soros.

beach.boui's picture

I knew some MAGA bonehead would comment, blaming Hilary or Soros for everything that's wrong in the world.

ron_weiskopf's picture

Not a MAGA person. I would prefer almost anyone in the Republican race over Trump.