The Misinformation Battle on Elon Musk's 'X' Platform

Elon Musk's social media platform, formerly known as Twitter and now dubbed "X", has come under fire due to its premium, "verified" users being among the chief propagators of misinformation

by Faruk Imamovic
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The Misinformation Battle on Elon Musk's 'X' Platform
© Getty Images Entertainment/Jerod Harris

Elon Musk's social media platform, formerly known as Twitter and now dubbed "X", has come under fire due to its premium, "verified" users being among the chief propagators of misinformation about the Israel-Hamas conflict, according to a report released on Thursday.

It's no secret that ascertaining the truth during times of conflict can be a convoluted task. Both sides of a conflict often push narratives that favor their perspective. Yet, there is rising concern as NewsGuard, an information analysis company, highlighted that some objectively false claims still manage to gain traction and are viewed by millions on X.

The report indicated that NewsGuard identified seven "misinformation superspreaders" on the platform. Disturbingly, these accounts have disseminated widely debunked claims pertaining to the Israel-Hamas confrontation. These accounts have seemingly capitalized on recent modifications to X's verification policy, which accentuates posts from users paying $8 monthly.

In a concerning twist, these verified users can also earn from the platform, further spurring the spread of misinformation. NewsGuard stated, “Collectively, posts propagating these myths garnered 1,349,979 engagements and were seen over 100 million times worldwide in merely a week." The company noted that 186 out of 250 of such posts originated from premium X accounts.

While these figures are striking, it's important to note that CNN has sought further evidence to support this data from NewsGuard.

Musk's Response and the EU's Involvement

Following the release of NewsGuard's findings, Musk promptly responded via X, suggesting the organization “should be disbanded immediately”.

The European Union, recognizing the potential ramifications of misinformation, initiated an investigation into X last week. This was specifically focused on the platform's alleged dissemination of misinformation and illegal content concerning the Israel-Hamas conflict.

In response, X's CEO, Linda Yaccarino, communicated to the EU the company's ongoing efforts to address this issue, stating they had “redistributed resources and refocused internal teams who are tirelessly working to handle this swiftly changing situation”.

It's imperative to mention that the EU has recently passed legislation targeting illegal content and misinformation on primary social media platforms. While the EU has requested data from other big players like Meta and TikTok regarding their efforts in mitigating potentially harmful content, it hasn't commenced any formal investigation into these companies.

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