Musk’s social media spread fakes about attack on Israel

October 11,2023 807
Musk’s social media spread fakes about attack on Israel

The X social media (formerly Twitter), which Elon Musk now owns, has been full of misinformation and confusion since the Hamas attack on Israel, according to Bloomberg. Numerous unverified photos and videos of missile airstrikes and the destruction of buildings appeared on the platform.

“Mike Rothschild, a conspiracy theory researcher who has studied viral falsehoods on social media, said that news of the attack on Israel was “the first real test of Elon Musk’s version of Twitter, and it failed spectacularly,” the journalists write.

The social media policy changes made by Musk made X unreliable during the crisis, experts said. Over the past year, the company loosened its platform’s rules, cut trust-and-safety employees after previously saying it would expand the team, reinstated once-banned accounts and allowed people to pay for a checkmark on the social network,” Bloomberg said.

Many posts used old images of the armed conflict, which users described as new. Anonymous accounts promoted most fakes with blue verification checks. Previously, before Musk bought Twitter, a blue checkmark meant that an account could be trusted because it was a verified person, media outlet, or business. Now, one can simply buy a tag for a subscription.

In addition, Elon Musk himself recommended that users monitor accounts known for spreading false or misleading information. Later, the billionaire deleted this post.

The European Union may take action due to the spread of misinformation in X about terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israel, according to a letter from European Commissioner Thierry Breton to Elon Musk, The Guardian reports. Breton called on Musk to provide a “timely, diligent and objective” response to requests to contact Europol within the next day and to cooperate with appropriate law enforcement regarding misinformation on social media.

In September, the X social media was called to be more responsible in the fight against the spread of Russian disinformation. The Vice-President of the European Commission, Věra Jourová, made such a statement.

Earlier, it became known that last year, Musk secretly ordered to stop the work of Starlink near Crimea. This is how the billionaire tried to thwart Ukraine’s attack on the Russian navy to prevent an alleged escalation on the part of Moscow.

Cover: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

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