What you need to know
- A research organization discovered X's recent move to eliminate the option to report misinformation on the platform.
- Reset.Tech Australia revealed that at least five individuals are unable to report electoral misinformation on the platform, weeks before a referendum.
- It appears that X's remaining tool to fight misinformation is to let users fact-check tweets using its Community Notes feature.
X, the micro-blogging site formerly known as Twitter, has ditched the option for users to report misinformation, potentially posing a threat to the platform's longstanding feature for keeping misleading tweets at bay.
According to an open letter published by the research group Reset.Tech Australia, users in countries where the feature was released can no longer flag misleading tweets about elections, which could lead to more misinformation spreading in the lead-up to Australia's upcoming referendum (via The Guardian).
The feature was first introduced in 2021 in the United States, Australia, and South Korea, where users were able to report tweets that they thought were misleading. Twitter's (as it was known back then) staff would then review the flagged tweets, along with other methods for reporting abuse or hate speech.
Reset.Tech Australia notes in its letter that at least five Australians were unable to find the "misleading information" category within the "Report post" option when reporting a tweet. That said, X retains the ability to report content for hate, abuse and harassment, violent speech, child safety, spam, privacy, self-harm, sensitive media, violence, and deceptive identities.
"It is extremely concerning that Australians would lose the ability to report serious misinformation weeks away from a major referendum," Reset.Tech Australia said.
The tool was part of limited testing and rolled out to more countries, including Brazil, the Philippines, and Spain, in 2022. While Twitter vowed to expand globally, this never happened, especially since Elon Musk took over the company.
The move comes at a time when social media platforms are facing increasing pressure to crack down on the spread of misinformation, particularly about elections. In recent years, there has been a growing trend of people using social media to spread false claims about elections.
Musk has been critical of Twitter's content moderation policies, and he has said that he believes in free speech, even if it means allowing the spread of misinformation.
Twitter has previously taken steps to combat misinformation about elections, but its decision to remove the ability to report false election information is a major step backwards. However, people can still use the platform's Community Notes feature to fact-check X posts, which is its last line of defense against misinformation.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.