Social network X, formerly Twitter, has disabled a feature that allowed users to report election misinformation, a research organization said on Wednesday, raising fresh concern about the spread of false claims just before votes in the United States and Australia.
After introducing a feature in 2022 for users to report a post they considered misleading about politics, X last week removed the “politics” category from its drop-down menu in all jurisdictions except the European Union, Reset.Tech said Australia.
Users can still report posts globally for a range of other complaints, such as promoting violence or hate speech, the researcher added.
Social Network X was not immediately available for comment.
Removing a way for people to report suspected political misinformation could limit intervention at a time when social networks are under pressure to reduce false claims about election integrity, which have grown rapidly in recent years.
“It would be useful to understand why X has apparently backtracked on its commitments to mitigate the kind of serious misinformation that has translated into real political instability in the United States, especially on the eve of the ‘bull year’ of elections around the world,” said Alice Dawkins, chief executive of Reset.Tech Australia.
Musk said X’s “Community Notes” feature, which allows users to comment on posts to flag false or misleading content, is a better way to fact-check. But these notes are only made public when they are rated as helpful by a range of contributors with varying views, according to the X website.
Australia’s internet safety watchdog wrote to social network X in June demanding an explanation for the explosion of hate speech on the platform, noting that it had reinstated around 62,000 high-profile accounts of individuals who espouse Nazi rhetoric. .