His majesty, Elon Musk, decided to restrict a feature that helps users to report misinformation about elections. Guess what again? A new crazy and incomprehensible move by him. You must have guessed that of course once I mentioned his name. The game? A new form of social media damage control.
As usual (and nothing to be surprised about), the tool is prohibited everywhere except for US, Australia, and South Korea since 2021. And thank you Musk for expanding it to three more countries last year, namely Brazil, the Philippines and Spain.
Why this control?
The feature is not available for users in the UK and never has been. The reason is: Politician control manipulation.
The BBC has approached X for comment.
“My message for [X] is: you have to comply with the hard law. We’ll be watching what you’re doing,” the EU’s Values and Transparency Commissioner Vera Jourova warned.
In the ‘middle of Elections’ timing
Australian authorities say, “the spread of electoral misinformation is the worst it has seen yet”.
2024 US presidential elections are in sight, around 14 months away. I can smell the discouragement plan of people voting on top of that the widespread misinformation and false claims that could happen might run hazardous effects. The misinformation helped fuel the January 6th attack on the US Capitol.
A recent study by the European Commission found that X, formerly Twitter, has the biggest proportion of disinformation of the six big social networks: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, X, and YouTube.
The study examined over 6,000 unique social media posts across these platforms in three countries deemed particularly at risk to disinformation: Spain, Poland, and Slovakia.
The study focused on two pillars
- Disinformation Code: The study was carried out by TrustLab, a disinformation monitoring start-up. It focused on X will be subjected to the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), which governs the behavior of huge tech platforms. “The EU plans to convert the voluntary code into a code of conduct under the act.”- the study showed.
- Multi-million Euro Weapon: EU failed to accuse social media companies to stop “large-scale” Russian disinformation campaigns since the invasion of Ukraine. It said the “reach and influence of Kremlin-backed accounts” had grown further in 2023. Russia was aiming a “a multi-million-euro weapon of mass manipulation” at Europeans and the large social media platforms had to address this risk, Mrs. Jourova added.
Now what, Elon?
Restricting the feature is a sign of trying to silence the critics and help in publishing misleading information. Thus, less reliability, credibility, and authenticity and more limitation of ‘freedom of speech’.
Journalists, what do you think? You be the judge!
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