Group of House Democrats has raised serious allegations against X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter. In a recent development, these lawmakers have accused the platform of profiting from content related to Hamas, a group designated as a "terrorist organization" by the United States.
According to independent research, numerous accounts on X have been found to be glorifying Hamas, sparking widespread concern. Over two dozen U.S. lawmakers, including prominent figures like Adam Schiff, Daniel Goldman, and Jamie Raskin, have taken a firm stand against this issue.
In a letter addressed to X's owner Elon Musk and CEO Linda Yaccarino, they expressed their outrage. Citing reports from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, NewsGuard, and the Tech Transparency Project, they highlighted the alarming signs of X's potential profits from Hamas-related content.
This includes subscription fees from accounts spreading such propaganda and revenue generated from ads in replies to posts.
“Given X’s major cuts to content moderation staff over the last year, it appears that X has willfully permitted, and benefited from, the illegal spread of terrorist propaganda,” wrote the group, led by Reps.
Adam Schiff of California, Daniel Goldman of New York and Jamie Raskin of Maryland. “Such behavior from one of the world’s most widely used social media platforms is wholly unacceptable”.
The Role of Advertising and Content Moderation
This controversy intensifies with the release of a new report by NewsGuard.
The report claims that advertisements from 86 major companies, such as Pizza Hut, Airbnb, and Microsoft, appeared alongside viral posts pushing misleading claims about the Israel-Hamas war. These posts reportedly reached an audience of about 92 million users on X.
X's response to these findings has been limited. The platform questioned the NewsGuard report's accuracy ahead of its publication but did not provide further comments. This lack of response comes at a time when X has significantly reduced its content moderation staff, a move that critics argue has allowed for the unchecked spread of terrorist propaganda.
Meanwhile, Elon Musk's legal battle with Media Matters adds another layer to this unfolding story. Musk's lawsuit, which challenges the organization's portrayal of ad placements against extremist material, has been met with skepticism.
Legal experts have questioned the strength of his claims, especially considering the protections offered by the First Amendment.