Elon Musk’s X, formerly known as Twitter, has long been criticized for the misinformation problem that permeates the platform. There was also hate speech on the social media service on the rise under Musk’s leadership.
However, X’s situation is especially rough since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7 and Israel subsequently began bombing Gaza. Specifically misinformation by verified users paying the company $8 a month to be prioritized by the algorithm is widespread.
And according to a a new study just published on Tuesday by the Center to Counter Digital Hate (CCDH), X does not seem to be very responsive to potentially dangerous or harmful content when it is reported.
New study finds misinformation about X is out of control
CCDH researchers collected 200 posts containing bigotry against Muslims or Jews. For example, some of these posts contain anti-Semitic or Islamophobic imagery, Holocaust denial, Nazi glorification, or dehumanization of Palestinians. CCDH then reported these posts to X and gave the company one week to respond. The company only removed four posts; 196 of those posts, or 98 percent, remain on the platform.
“X has tried to reassure advertisers and the public that they are tackling hate speech – but our research shows that these are nothing but empty words,” said CCDH CEO and founder Imran Ahmed.
Musk has sparred with CCDH before, even going so far judicial the organization for its reports. However, CCDH has not given up and continues to publish studies on the platform and content moderation failures.
X has shared a number of changes to its Community Notes program, its “fact-checking” solution that allows members to add context to other users’ posts. But apparently misinformation is still spreading almost unabated despite these company moves. Note that Community Notes are not relevant to the hate speech issue; the program is not designed to deal with that kind of content.
“This is the inevitable result when you cut safety and moderation staff, put up the bat signal to welcome back previously banned hate actors, and offer increased visibility to anyone willing to pay $8 a month,” said Ahmed in a statement. “Musk has created a safe space for racists and tried to make a virtue of the impunity that allows them to attack, harass and threaten marginalized communities.