A blog post by X (formerly known as Twitter) Safety raised suspicions the social media platform will increase censorship in political discourse.
“X has a responsibility to put the right systems in place to ensure our communities have access to open, accurate, and safe political discourse. That’s why we’re hiring more people, updating our policies, and evolving our product,” X Safety wrote.
X has a responsibility to put the right systems in place to ensure our communities have access to open, accurate, and safe political discourse.
That’s why we’re hiring more people, updating our policies, and evolving our product.
Read more below:https://t.co/dpix9Gihjo
— Safety (@Safety) August 29, 2023
“This has the foul odor of censorship, or worse,” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) said.
This has the foul odor of censorship, or worse.
What the hell is “accurate political discourse”? https://t.co/Z3wzIkJqhS
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) August 30, 2023
“That’s some Grade-A Orwellian bulls*** right there,” Bret Weinstein commented.
That’s some Grade-A Orwellian bullshit right there. https://t.co/BR2WtFvyUi
— Bret Weinstein (@BretWeinstein) August 29, 2023
“Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss?” Robert Barnes questioned.
Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss? https://t.co/a9YRphvThk
— Robert Barnes (@barnes_law) August 29, 2023
Read the blog post from X Safety:
More than half a billion people from around the world gather on X to talk about their interests in real-time, and that includes elections. X enables people to directly engage on important topics with elected representatives, local or national leaders and fellow citizens.
During elections, X works to get in front of a range of tactics that people use to target the process. To do this we hire the right people, update our policies and evolve our product.
Our people: We’re currently expanding our safety and elections teams to focus on combating manipulation, surfacing inauthentic accounts and closely monitoring the platform for emerging threats.
Our policies: We have rules in place to help protect the safety and authenticity of conversations on X. During elections, our Civic Integrity Policy provides an extra layer of protection that is applied for a limited period of time before and during an election. We’re updating this policy to make sure we strike the right balance between tackling the most harmful types of content—those that could intimidate or deceive people into surrendering their right to participate in a civic process—and not censoring political debate.
The policy will also be aligned with our updated enforcement philosophy, Freedom of Speech, Not Reach. We will add publicly visible labels to posts identified as potentially violating the Civic Integrity Policy, letting people know when their reach has been restricted.
Building on our commitment to free expression, we are also going to allow political advertising. Starting in the U.S., we’ll continue to apply specific policies to paid-for promoted political posts. This will include prohibiting the promotion of false or misleading content, including false or misleading information intended to undermine public confidence in an election, while seeking to preserve free and open political discourse. We’ll also provide a global advertising transparency center so that everyone can review political posts being promoted on X, in addition to robust screening processes to ensure only eligible groups and campaigns are able to advertise.
Our product: We continue to scale Community Notes, an innovative tool that empowers a vetted and growing group of people to add context to posts when they see something that could be wrong, misleading or requires another point of view. X shouldn’t determine the truthfulness of disputed information; rather, we should empower our users to express their opinions and openly debate during elections, in line with our commitment to protecting freedom of expression.
An April report by technology publication Rest of World said Elon Musk’s Twitter complied more frequently with government demands for censorship than the old ownership.
The outlet cited Twitter’s self-reported data.
“Since Musk took ownership, the company has received 971 government demands, and fully complied with 808 of them,” Rest of World wrote.
“Before Musk, Twitter’s full compliance rate hovered around 50%; since the takeover, it is over 80%,” the outlet noted.
From Rest of World:
It’s been exactly six months since Elon Musk took over Twitter, promising a new era of free speech and independence from political bias. But Twitter’s self-reported data shows that, under Musk, the company has complied with hundreds more government orders for censorship or surveillance — especially in countries such as Turkey and India.
The data, drawn from Twitter’s reports to the Lumen database, shows that between October 27, 2022 and April 26, 2023, Twitter received a total of 971 requests from governments and courts. These requests included orders to remove controversial posts, as well as demands that Twitter produce private data to identify anonymous accounts. Twitter reported that it fully complied in 808 of those requests, and partially complied in 154 other cases. (For nine requests, it did not report any specific response.)
Most alarmingly, Twitter’s self-reports do not show a single request in which the company refused to comply, as it had done several times before the Musk takeover. Twitter rejected three such requests in the six months before Musk’s takeover, and five in the six months prior to that.