Elon Musk’s X said it scrubbed or labeled tens of thousands of posts including “illegal” content since the Israel-Hamas war erupted, responding to warnings to stem the spread of fake news around the conflict.
(Bloomberg) — Elon Musk’s X said it scrubbed or labeled tens of thousands of posts including “illegal” content since the Israel-Hamas war erupted, responding to warnings to stem the spread of fake news around the conflict.
Chief Executive Officer Linda Yaccarino posted her formal response after European Commissioner Thierry Breton urged Silicon Valley’s social media players to throttle disinformation. He said X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, was hosting illegal content and called on Musk to take quick action.
X had assembled a dedicated group to assess the situation and removed hundreds of accounts linked to Hamas, Yaccarino said in a four-page response to the commissioner. Apart from wiping problematic content, the Community Notes feature — through which people append context — helped millions of users share and understand posts, she wrote.
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Hours after Hamas gunmen surged into Israel, unverified photos and videos of air strikes, homes being destroyed and other posts depicting military violence proliferated on social media platforms including X, prompting criticism of their response to the conflict. Hamas is designated a terrorist group by the US and the European Union.
Musk himself recommended that users follow accounts known for spreading false or misleading information, in a post on Sunday that’s since been deleted.
Under his ownership, X made changes to its content policies and the consequences are surfacing in a moment of geopolitical crisis, researchers say. Over the past year, it loosened rules, cut trust-and-safety employees after previously saying it would expand the team, reinstated once-banned accounts and allowed people to pay for a checkmark on the social network.
Musk and Breton built up a relationship over the past year in part through a common interest in chips and satellites. The commissioner paid a visit to X during his tour of Silicon Valley in June and greeted Yaccarino — then less than three weeks on the job.
In a sign that relationship may be fraying, on Wednesday, Breton opened an account on Bluesky, writing “feels less crowded — yet more human — without all those bots.”
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(Updates with designation of Hamas in the fourth paragraph)
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