yesterday night, what’s left of the Trust and Safety team at X (formerly Twitter) announced the measures it was taking to try and curb the virulent spread of disinformation around the Israel-Hamas war on its platform.
The statement, issued three days after the conflict began, reads: “As the events continue to unfold rapidly, a cross-company leadership group has assessed this moment as a crisis requiring the highest level of response.”
One person who does not appear to be part of this crisis team is X owner Elon Musk.
Instead of tackling the dangerous disinformation problem on his platform, Musk instead spent yeterday night into this morning continuing to spread disinformation about the conflict, conversing with a known QAnon promoter, boosting anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, and laughing at a video detailing how transphobic content on X can get you new followers.
Musk also promoted a new feature that allows X Premium subscribers to see only replies from other people willing to pay $8 a month, which Musk said would “help a lot with spam bots” on the platform—an issue Musk previously claimed he had already all but eradicated.
“If successful, X will evolve to be the collective consciousness of humanity or, more accurately, the human-machine collective,” Musk posted in reply to a follower who said he was doing a great job running the company.
Meanwhile, disinformation about the conflict in the Middle East continues to rage on the platform, driven primarily by verified accounts.
Yesterday evening, X’s Trust and Safety team, which is currently leaderless after Ella Irwin resigned in June, wrote on X that it had “removed newly created Hamas-affiliated accounts” and was working with the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT), an industry body that helps coordinate content moderation across social media platforms, to “try and prevent terrorist content from being distributed online.”
The Safety team’s statement also lauded the user-generated Community Notes system and said new accounts were being enrolled to address the flood of disinformation on the platform. The Safety team also revealed that it had removed “several hundreds accounts for attempting to manipulate trending topics.”
Since Musk took control of the platform just under a year ago, he has restructured it to encourage engagement over everything else. As a result, accounts that subscribe to X Premium now have a monetary incentive to post content that is engaging regardless of how truthful it is. This was highlighted clearly on yesterday night when, at the same time as the Safety team posted its update, a new viral piece of disinformation was spreading unchecked on X.