Elon Musk Faces Scrutiny Over Disinformation on X Amidst the Israel-Hamas Conflict

The Israel-Palestinian conflict, one of the most sensitive and volatile geopolitical issues, has recently taken an unexpected turn on the digital front.

by Faruk Imamovic
SHARE
Elon Musk Faces Scrutiny Over Disinformation on X Amidst the Israel-Hamas Conflict
© Getty Images News/Maja Hitij

The Israel-Palestinian conflict, one of the most sensitive and volatile geopolitical issues, has recently taken an unexpected turn on the digital front. EU Commissioner Thierry Breton has issued a stark warning to Elon Musk regarding "illegal content and disinformation" on the platform known as 'X.'

The EU is urging for an immediate response from Musk and expects the tech magnate to liaise with law enforcement within a day.

Rapid Changes to Community Notes Raises Eyebrows

The backdrop to this situation involves the dramatic and rapid changes that have taken place on the platform.

Recent data indicates that there's been a significant increase in the pace of Community Note audits related to this geopolitical conflict. Only a week ago, an update to Community Notes saw audit times reduced by an average of 1.5 hours, with some cases even being expedited by as much as 3.5 hours.

Musk and his technical crew have introduced major improvements, resulting in the platform now meticulously auditing both user and advertiser posts. Adding a touch of credibility to the platform's efforts, the X Safety team revealed an interesting statistic: an independent evaluation by Sprinklr confirmed that hate speech impressions on X stood at a minimal 0.003%, a figure lower than Twitter's 0.012%.

Musk's Controversial Decisions Spark Concern

Since Musk assumed control of X, his leadership decisions have stirred up considerable controversy. One of the most significant was letting go of a large portion of the platform’s content moderation and policy teams.

This move elicited strong criticisms from various civil society groups, highlighting potential risks of misinformation and hate speech proliferating unchecked. In a bid, as Musk put it, to curb the creation of automated accounts, he made the radical decision to scrap the traditional verification badges, symbols that users had come to rely on for account authenticity.

In their place, Musk introduced a paid system, enabling any user to attain a verification badge without a thorough identity verification. Experts in misinformation consider this a potentially hazardous decision, especially during periods of rapidly developing news.

Yet, Musk's personal conduct has also been a source of contention. Notably, he once shared, only to later delete, a post urging users to follow an account notorious for disseminating misinformation. This very account falsely reported an explosion at the Pentagon earlier in the year.

As tensions simmer, both geopolitically and digitally, the world watches closely, awaiting Musk's response to the EU's serious allegations.

Elon Musk
SHARE