Since Elon Musk‘s takeover of X, formerly Twitter, the company’s dismantling of content moderation teams, shift to a pay-for-verification model, and the launch of engagement-based revenue sharing have led to a flood of misinformation on the site. This has led to a social media platform struggling to keep up with misinformation since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas conflict.
A NewsGuard analysis, shared with Adweek, found that X’s “verified” users, who are required to pay a fee for the blue check, promoted 74 precent of the platform’s most viral, false claims related to the ongoing war.
Utilizing a combination of human and artificial intelligence, NewsGuard reviewed the top 250 posts on X containing misinformation that received the most likes, reposts, replies and bookmarks since the start of the conflict on Oct. 7. The analysis found that 186 accounts of the 250, 74 percent, had been verified.
Posts spreading false claims gained 1,349,979 likes, reposts, replies and bookmarks, and in one week, were viewed by more than 100 million people globally, per NewsGuard. Among 10 false narratives promoted by the verified accounts were the fabricated claims that Ukraine was providing weapons to Hamas and that an Israeli senior official had been captured by Hamas.
“This is another nail in the coffin for X in terms of deteriorating advertisers’ trust,” Ruben Schreurs, chief strategy officer at independent marketing and media consultancy Ebiquity, told Adweek. “And they’re enforcing their decision not to return to X.”
Meta, TikTok, and YouTube have also been affected by the influx unchecked misinformation, with all four companies, including X, receiving warnings from the European Commission that the spread of misinformation, as well as violent and hateful content, may place them in violation of the EU’s Digital Services Act. Rolling Stone has put together a guide to some of the biggest trends and debunkable claims identified in recent days.