X, formerly known as Twitter, stunned the online world by bringing back political ads after a two-year hiatus, just before the much anticipated US presidential election.
The 2024 Election Looms Large
With the 2024 presidential election approaching, X reintroduced political ads to its platform, sparking controversy.
Safety and Election Teams Expand
X claimed to hire new employees to bolster its safety and election teams in a bid to combat misinformation.
Despite recent layoffs of its monitoring staff, X vowed to combat misinformation spread through political ads.
A Historical Shift
Former CEO Jack Dorsey’s previous political ad ban was a response to Facebook’s misinformation scandal in 2019, when the social media site didn’t fact-check political ads.
Dorsey’s Contradictive Stance
Dorsey’s comment on the contradiction of allowing political ads while combating misinformation became central to the debate, “It’s not credible for us to say: ‘We’re working hard to stop people from gaming our systems to spread misleading info, buuut if someone pays us to target and force people to see their political ad…well…they can say whatever they want!’” Dorsey said.
X Reinstates Controversial Public Figures
X’s new stance coincides with its decision to reinstate public figures, such as Donald Trump, accused of promoting hate speech and misinformation.
Trump’s Rallying Return
The move reopens the platform to figures like Donald Trump, who continue disseminating election fraud claims.
Trump made the headlines last week for posting his mugshot in his first tweet back on the app, causing a media frenzy.
Experts worry that the lack of content moderation staff could lead to the proliferation of false information on the social media app.
A Surge in Misinformation
Studies revealed a spike in misinformation after Elon Musk’s acquisition of X in 2022, raising alarms about content moderation.
Safety Measures in Place
X pledged to combat misinformation with labels on posts called, “Community Notes” that explain why a post might violate its civic integrity policy aiming to preserve open discourse.
Transparency and Control
X plans to provide a global advertising transparency center, allowing users to scrutinize political ads.
Compliance with EU Laws
X’s move aligns with the European Union’s Digital Services Act, which mandates transparency in political advertising.
Musk’s Big-Money Acquisition
Elon Musk’s takeover of X led to a complete transformation of the platform’s policies and approach.
Lifting the Ban
X initially lifted its political ad ban to allow cause-based ads and is now expanding its scope.
The reintroduction of political ads could boost X’s revenue, addressing concerns over declining advertiser interest.
Musk positions X as a key player in elections, hosting campaign events and embracing the role of a digital “town square.”
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Frederic Legrand – COMEO. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.