Elon Musk has recently made a significant change to how fact-checking and content moderation work on the social network formerly known as Twitter, now rebranded as “X.” In the year since Musk took over the platform, there have been several controversial moves, including a reduction in content moderation efforts, allowing previously banned extremists to return, and introducing features like the ability to purchase account verification.
One of the major changes announced by Musk is the shift from paying for fact-checking through Community Notes. Instead, he has decided that posts corrected by @CommunityNotes will no longer be eligible for revenue sharing. This change is intended to create a stronger incentive for accuracy on the platform rather than sensationalism.
Musk has promoted the idea of users themselves policing the platform through Community Notes as a way to combat misinformation. However, this latest change raises concerns about how it may affect the quality of fact-checking and content accuracy.
This decision comes in the wake of criticism against “X” for becoming a conduit for misinformation. A recent study by the disinformation monitoring group NewsGuard found that verified and paying subscribers on the platform were responsible for spreading a significant amount of misinformation, particularly related to the Israel-Hamas war. This study discovered that nearly three-fourths of the most viral posts promoting false narratives about the conflict were shared by “verified” X accounts. Only a fraction of these posts had been fact-checked by the Community Notes system.
NewsGuard pointed out that verified accounts on X had gained added credibility through the once-prestigious blue checkmark, enabling them to reach larger audiences, and in some cases, spreading misinformation. The organization also noted that while misinformation spreads on various social media platforms, X often serves as a starting point for the dissemination of false narratives about events like the Israel-Hamas war.
Musk’s decision to change how corrections and fact-checking are rewarded reflects his ongoing effort to reshape the platform’s content and moderation policies. However, it remains to be seen how this change will impact the quality of information and accuracy on X and whether it will effectively address the issue of misinformation on the platform.