X, formerly known as Twitter, has recently removed the option for users to report misleading information about politics. This change was spotted by Australian digital research group Reset.Australia, who have raised concerns about the potential breach of Australia’s misinformation code. The group argues that the removal of the reporting option could leave violative content unchecked and not in compliance with X’s policies.
X has removed the option for users to report misleading information about politics, which raises concerns about the platform’s commitment to combatting election misinformation. Users in several markets, including Australia, may be left without appropriate reporting tools, potentially violating Australia’s misinformation code.
This change comes at a critical time, just weeks before a major referendum in Australia. Users in several markets, including the US, Australia, Brazil, and Spain, no longer have the ability to directly report election misinformation. Instead, the options presented to users for reporting include categories like hate speech, abuse, and spam. While there is an option for reporting deceptive identities, it is ill-suited for reporting political misinformation.
Under Elon Musk’s ownership, X has previously discontinued the enforcement of its COVID-19 misinformation policy. However, X has stated its commitment to combating threats to elections and has expanded its safety and elections teams. The platform’s “Civic Integrity” policy prohibits manipulation or interference in elections but does not broadly address misleading information about politics.
According to reports, the level of disinformation on X has been increasing, with the platform having the worst ratio of disinformation in several EU member states. Furthermore, Musk’s decision to remove labels denoting state-run or government-affiliated media accounts has resulted in a surge of Russian, Chinese, and Iranian propaganda, commonly aimed at democratic elections.
While X has expanded election misinformation reporting options for users in the EU, no direct option exists for users outside of the EU to report election-related misinformation. This discrepancy raises questions about X’s commitment to its stated “Civic Integrity” policies.
Overall, the removal of the option to report misleading political information on X is a cause for concern, as it leaves users in several markets without a direct means to address election misinformation. The platform’s actions and policies are being scrutinized in light of its commitment to election integrity and combatting disinformation.