Elon Musk-owned social media X has recently turned off a tool to report electoral fake news, researchers have found.
The findings raise concerns about misinformation ahead of important elections.
The feature allowed users to report electoral misinformation, but has now been disabled.
It was initially introduced in the US, Australia, and South Korea in 2021 and later expanded to other countries.
However, Reset.Tech Australia reported the tool has been removed recently, except in the European Union.
The group said it’s extremely concerned over removing the reporting tool, especially as Australia is gearing up for a significant referendum on October 14th.
The referendum will determine whether to amend the constitution to establish an Indigenous advisory body to parliament.
The Australian Electoral Commission has warned that electoral misinformation is at an all-time high, making removing this reporting feature especially worrisome.
Move could hit users wanting to report misinformation
This move by X could also impact the ability of users to report misinformation in the lead-up to the 2024 US presidential elections.
Users can still report posts for hate speech, abuse, or spam.
But scraping the tool for electoral misinformation raises questions about the platform’s preparedness to combat fake news during critical political events.
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A recent study found that X had the highest proportion of disinformation among the major social networks.
The study, conducted by the European Commission, analyzed thousands of social media posts across various platforms.
It reveals X as having the highest ratio of discoverable disinformation.
The union has implemented the EU Digital Services Act (DSA) to hold tech giants accountable and prevent election interference.
Vera Jourova, EU Values and Transparency Commissioner, said: “My message for [X] is: you have to comply with the hard law. We’ll be watching what you’re doing.”
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Since Elon Musk acquired X (formerly Twitter) in late 2022, the platform has faced criticism for allowing the proliferation of hate speech and misinformation.
Musk has defended the platform’s “Community Notes” feature as a better way to fact-check content.