Green Asia

A year after Musk’s Twitter takeover, X remains mired in turmoil


In the months following his takeover, Musk gutted content moderation, restored accounts of previously banned extremists, and allowed users to purchase account verification, helping them profit from viral – but often inaccurate – posts.

Musk defended such changes in the name of free speech.

He disabled features put in place to prevent users from being duped by false claims and put in new systems that encourage their spread, according to nonprofit fact-checking website PolitiFact.

Steps taken by Musk at X “have sparked increased sharing of misinformation and hate speech,” PolitiFact said Monday in a report, echoing an array of groups tracking toxic content on social media.

The fast-evolving Israel-Hamas conflict has been seen as one of the first real tests of Musk’s version of the platform during a major crisis. For many experts, the results confirm their worst fears: that changes have made it a challenge to discern truth from fiction.

“It is sobering, though not surprising, to see Musk’s reckless decisions exacerbate the information crisis on Twitter surrounding the already tragic Israel-Hamas conflict,” Nora Benavidez, senior counsel at the watchdog Free Press, told AFP.

This month the European Commission announced an investigation into X for alleged dissemination of bogus information and terrorist content regarding the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

X chief executive Linda Yaccarino has signalled that the platform is serious about trust and safety, but researchers have voiced pessimism, saying the site has abandoned efforts to elevate top news sources.


Over the past year, the platform’s advertising business partially collapsed as marketers soured on X.

Insider Intelligence forecasts that X will finish 2023 with US$2.98 billion in ad revenue, compared to US$4.14 billion in 2022.

Musk early this year said the company’s value had more than halved to US$20 billion, and some estimates place it even lower.

Musk started charging for features once free at Twitter, such as blue tick marks originally intended as badges of authenticity, in an effort to make money from subscriptions.

And X recently started charging new users in New Zealand and the Philippines for basic features such as posting messages in a trial aimed at reducing spam.

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