June 21, 2024

Twitter Emerges As Top Platform for Spreading Misinformation

In a recent address, European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova identified Twitter, now known as X, as the worst offender for spreading misinformation among social media platforms.

While speaking of the European Union’s 2022 Code of Practice on Disinformation during an update, she focused on the importance of digital platforms to combat misinformation.

She blasted Twitter for spreading wrong information, particularly on sensitive issues like the upcoming EU elections and the Russia-Ukraine war.

Disinformation is not new, nor does it happen only on online platforms… But with increasing digitalization, malicious actors have gained new ways to try to undermine our democracies.Vera Jourova

Stressing the gravity of the situation, Jourova called out the role of the Russian state in disseminating half-truths and lies that tarnish the image of democracy, branding it as “No better than autocracy”.

She also urged digital platforms, the global community, and Europe to confront the menace of manipulating information on social media.

As of now, 44 companies, including tech giants like Meta, Google, Microsoft, and TikTok, have become signatories of the Code of Practice on Disinformation.

Each of these companies issued transparency reports in July, documenting their efforts to ensure integrity on the respective platforms in the first half of the year. Notably, Twitter (X) is absent from this list.

Here’s What The Report Revealed

In its report, Google published that its subsidiary YouTube removed over 400 channels in the first four months of 2023. These channels were linked to coordinated influence operations associated with the Russian-state-sponsored Internet Research Agency (IRA).

Microsoft’s report, on the other hand, showed that its subsidiary LinkedIn barred 6.7 million fake accounts in the first half of 2023.

Twitter was once a signatory to the code but abandoned its commitment in May after Elon Musk took it over. This decision has raised concerns about potential regulatory challenges.

The criticism of X by Vera Jourova is backed by a report from TrustLab, a venture-backed online safety company. This report examined misinformation on various platforms, including Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter (X), and YouTube in Spain, Slovakia, and Poland. Twitter stood out for being the platform spreading the highest volume of misinformation.

Jourova defined Russia’s disinformation campaign as “a multi-million euro weapon of mass manipulation”.

The study evaluated over 6,000 unique social media posts in the three countries that are considered vulnerable to disinformation due to elections and their proximity to the Ukraine conflict.

She also issued a stern warning to Twitter, “My message for [X] is: you have to comply with the hard law. We’ll be watching what you’re doing”.

Jourova also stated that the Digital Services Act of the EU would now regulate the conduct of tech platforms. Failure to adhere to the clauses of the Act can result in fines of up to 6% of the global turnover of the companies.

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