San Francisco, Sep 28 (IANS) Tech billionaire Elon Musk has disabled a feature on X that let users report misinformation about elections, the media reported on Thursday — a move which has created furore as several countries like the US, Australia and India gear up for key elections in the next months.
The tool, available in the US, Australia and South Korea since 2021, was expanded to other countries last year.
According to digital research group Reset.Tech Australia, the move is “extremely concerning”, as the country is set to hold a key referendum next month to give Indigenous people more rights as well as the 2024 US presidential elections.
“A recent change to your reporting process appears to have left Australian users unable to report electoral misinformation. This is because the categories for reporting in Australia offer no option to report electoral misinformation,” Reset.Australia said in an open letter.
“Users are offered inappropriate categories such as hate speech, abuse, spam, imitation etc. Previously Australian users could select ‘It’s misleading’ about the ‘Politics’ category. This may leave violative content subject to an inappropriate review process and not labelled or removed in compliance with your policies,” the letter added.
Australian authorities say the spread of electoral misinformation is the worst it has seen yet, reports the BBC.
“There now appears to be no channel to report electoral misinformation when discovered on your platform,” the research group said.
Musk or X were yet to comment on the report.
The move could also affect voters’ ability to report misinformation ahead of the 2024 US presidential elections.
According to Reset.Tech Australia, the feature remains available in the European Union (EU).
A recent EU study claimed that X had the largest “ratio of discoverability” of disinformation.
“My message for X is: you have to comply with the hard law. We’ll be watching what you’re doing,” said Vera Jourova, EU’s Values and Transparency Commissioner. – IANS