X, the social media firm previously often called Twitter, has scrapped a characteristic that lets customers self-report political misinformation on the platform, a analysis group says, marking the most recent safety-focused guardrail that X has rolled again since billionaire Elon Musk took the helm.
The transfer was first noticed by an Australia-based digital coverage assume tank, Reset Australia. The group of researchers despatched an open letter to X warning of the potential harms this could trigger because it got here simply weeks forward of a serious referendum vote on whether or not to vary the Australian structure to ascertain an Indigenous advisory group with a direct line to authorities.
“There now seems to be no channel to report electoral misinformation when found in your platform,” the letter from Reset Australia states. “This can be very regarding that Australians would lose the power to report severe misinformation weeks away from a serious referendum.”
The rollback additionally comes as political campaigning for the US 2024 presidential election ramps up, and issues concerning the unfold of misinformation on-line stays a keystone problem forward of the US vote.
X didn’t instantly reply to CNN’s request for remark Wednesday morning. X customers, notably, can nonetheless report content material on the platform for violations in different classes — comparable to “Hate,” “Abuse & Harassment,” and “Violent Speech,” amongst different points. Musk has additionally lengthy touted the platforms “Neighborhood Notes” characteristic, which lets customers add context they assume is lacking to posts.
The user-reporting characteristic initially launched as a check for a small group of customers within the US, South Korea and Australia, X (then referred to as Twitter) introduced in August 2021. The characteristic allowed customers to report a publish as “it’s deceptive” once they encountered problematic political content material. In January 2022, the corporate stated it was increasing the misinformation reporting characteristic to extra international locations and customers.
Musk’s rocky takeover of Twitter, in the meantime, was formally accomplished in October 2022.
With Musk on the helm, the platform has additionally made different modifications, comparable to reinstating controversial accounts, together with these belonging to former US President Donald Trump and rapper Kanye West. Musk has lengthy opined issues about perceived censorship on the platform and its have to deal with selling what he views as “free speech.”
In different current modifications to its strategy to political content material, X introduced final month that it’s going to once more permit political advertisements on the platform — for the primary time since 2019 — and stated that it’s hiring for its security and election groups forward of the 2024 US presidential vote.