Monday, May 20, 2024
NewsRSSTechnology

X scraps tool to report electoral fake news – researchers

In a concerning move, X, the social media platform owned by Elon Musk, has reportedly scrapped a tool that allowed users to report misinformation related to elections. The feature, which was available in multiple countries, including the US, Australia, and South Korea, had been disabled in recent weeks. This decision has raised alarm as Australia prepares for a key referendum and the upcoming US presidential elections. Australian authorities have stated that the spread of electoral fake news is at its worst. The removal of this reporting tool may hinder the ability to address and combat misinformation, leaving users with no effective channel to report false content.

X scraps tool to report electoral fake news – researchers

Researchers have revealed that X, the social media platform owned by Elon Musk, has disabled a key feature that allowed users to report misinformation about elections. According to Reset.Tech Australia, the feature was recently removed, with the exception of the European Union. This move has raised concerns, particularly in light of an upcoming Australia referendum and the 2024 US presidential elections. Australian authorities have stated that the spread of electoral misinformation is currently at its worst. The tool was initially introduced in the US, Australia, and South Korea in 2021, and later expanded to Brazil, the Philippines, and Spain. It allowed users to report misleading political content. Reset.Tech Australia has expressed deep concern over the removal of this feature, since it eliminates a channel to report electoral misinformation on the platform. They argue that this removal is particularly worrying as Australia is set to hold a referendum next month. However, users can still report posts that they consider hateful, abusive, or spam.

X scraps tool to report electoral fake news - researchers

This image is property of ichef.bbci.co.uk.

Expansion of the tool to other countries and its removal

The tool to report electoral fake news on X was initially available in the US, Australia, and South Korea. In 2021, it was expanded to Brazil, the Philippines, and Spain. However, researchers have now discovered that this feature has been removed in recent weeks, leaving users without a means to report electoral misinformation on the platform. This removal has raised concerns, as it comes at a crucial time, with an upcoming Australia referendum and the 2024 US presidential elections on the horizon.

Reset.Tech Australia calls removal of the feature concerning

Reset.Tech Australia, an organization focused on addressing and countering disinformation, has expressed its concern over the removal of the tool to report electoral fake news on X. In a letter, Reset.Tech Australia highlights the lack of a channel to report electoral misinformation on the platform. They argue that this removal is extremely concerning, especially since Australia is preparing for a referendum next month. The organization stresses the importance of combatting electoral misinformation and calls for the reinstatement of the reporting tool.

X scraps tool to report electoral fake news - researchers

This image is property of ichef.bbci.co.uk.

Users can still report posts that are hateful, abusive, or spam

While the tool to report electoral fake news may have been removed on X, users still have the ability to report posts that they consider to be hateful, abusive, or spam. Although this remains an important avenue for reporting harmful content, the absence of a specific reporting feature for electoral misinformation raises concerns about the platform’s ability to tackle false information during crucial events such as elections and referendums.

Impact on reporting misinformation before the 2024 US presidential elections

The removal of the tool to report electoral fake news on X raises concerns about the platform’s ability to combat misinformation leading up to the 2024 US presidential elections. With the spread of electoral misinformation already at its worst, according to Australian authorities, the lack of a dedicated reporting feature could hinder efforts to address false information and protect the integrity of the election process. It remains to be seen how X will address this issue and ensure that misinformation does not influence the outcome of future elections.

X scraps tool to report electoral fake news - researchers

This image is property of ichef.bbci.co.uk.

European Union’s availability of the feature in a different format

While the tool to report electoral fake news has been removed from X in several countries, it still remains available within the European Union, albeit in a slightly different format. EU users can now report a post for “Negative effects on civic disorders or elections.” The availability of this reporting feature in the EU demonstrates the importance of addressing electoral misinformation, as the EU has implemented regulations, such as the Digital Services Act, to protect users and prevent election interference.

X has the largest proportion of disinformation among social networks

According to a recent study by the European Commission, X has the highest proportion of disinformation compared to other major social networks. The study examined over 6,000 unique social media posts across Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, X, and YouTube. The results revealed that X had the largest “ratio of discoverability” of disinformation, indicating that users are more likely to come across false information on this platform. In contrast, YouTube had the lowest ratio. These findings highlight the need for robust measures to address and combat the spread of disinformation on X.

X scraps tool to report electoral fake news - researchers

This image is property of ichef.bbci.co.uk.

European Commission study on discoverability of disinformation on X

The European Commission’s study on the discoverability of disinformation on social media platforms found that X had the highest ratio of discoverability among the six major networks. This means that users are more likely to encounter false information on X compared to other platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, and YouTube. The study’s findings underscore the urgency of addressing the issue of disinformation on X and implementing measures to prevent its spread.

EU’s Values and Transparency Commissioner’s warning to X

Following the European Commission’s study on the discoverability of disinformation on X, the EU’s Values and Transparency Commissioner, Vera Jourova, issued a warning to the platform. Commissioner Jourova emphasized the importance of X complying with existing regulations and respecting the law. She stated that the EU would closely monitor X’s actions in addressing the spread of disinformation and election interference. This warning highlights the need for X to take responsibility in combating misinformation and to prevent its platform from being misused during elections.

In conclusion, the removal of X’s tool to report electoral fake news raises concerns about the platform’s ability to address and combat misinformation during crucial events such as elections and referendums. With the spread of electoral misinformation already a pressing issue, the lack of a dedicated reporting feature for electoral fake news could have significant implications for the upcoming Australia referendum and the 2024 US presidential elections. It is essential that X takes proactive measures to address this issue and prevent the influence of false information on democratic processes.

X scraps tool to report electoral fake news - researchers

This image is property of ichef.bbci.co.uk.

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-66944123?at_medium=RSS&at_campaign=KARANGA