The Future. X — at least in the Twitter days — was once the go-to platform for breaking news from a diverse roster of reputable sources and on-the-ground journalists. But as the fallout from Hamas’ attack on Israel spilled over into the weekend, many noticed the platform had become inundated with misinformation and fake media. That’s a major issue when X reports there have been 50 million posts on the topic. If X fails to provide users with a trustworthy platform for breaking news, users may have to revert to directly visiting news sites to ensure they get credible information.
What’s behind X’s surge of misinformation on the war between Israel and Hamas? As it turns out, there are several issues at play.
- The overhaul of the verification system has turned blue checks (once the badge of persons of note) into markers of disinformation — algorithmically pushed by X’s For You feed and monetized to incentivize engagement over accuracy.
- X’s headline-removing update has made it more difficult to separate legitimate and illegitimate sources.
- Elon Musk gutted the company’s team in charge of combating misinformation (in favor of Community Notes) and stopped using a software tool that helped catch organized misinformation campaigns — both moves to cut costs.
- Musk himself recommended users follow two accounts for updates on the war — two accounts that were rife with misinformation and one that was blatantly antisemitic.
The worst part is the rise of antisemitic content on X was called out by the Anti-Defamation League in the months leading up to last week’s horrific attack. Instead of taking it seriously, Musk alleged the organization was trying to destroy X and threatened to sue for defamation.
Under new CEO Linda Yaccarino, X is trying to pivot quickly, removing “newly created Hamas-affiliated accounts” and overhauling its “public interests expectations” policy to help surface more reputable sources.
But so far, those changes may be too little, too late.