May 24, 2024

X Accused Of Reaping Profits From Hamas Propaganda

At a time when X, formerly known as Twitter, is struggling to grapple with the ongoing advertiser exodus crisis, it has been accused by a group of House Democrats of profiting from misinformation shared on the Israel-Hamas conflict. The accusations come after independent researchers reported several accounts hailing the terror group on X.

The letter, spearheaded by Representatives Adam Schiff, Jamie Raskin, and Daniel Goldman, considers such behavior from X “wholly unacceptable”.

Last Tuesday, more than 24 lawmakers in the US signed a letter, addressing it to the owner and CEO of X, Elon Musk and Linda Yaccarino. The letter, dated Tuesday, cites analyses carried out by reputed groups. These include the Tech Transparency Project, NewsGuard, and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.

According to lawmakers, there are “clear indicators that X is profiting from the spread of Hamas’s terrorist propaganda” through advertisements displayed in replies to posts and subscription fees.

They stated that drastic cuts in content moderation and reduced staff in recent years allowed X to take advantage of illegal content supporting terrorist propaganda.

This Is How the Accusations Took Shape

The accusations gained momentum following reports published last month. These reports pointed out instances where paid subscribers of the social media platform shared videos featuring Hamas iconography. These visuals also showed gruesome images of violence from the ongoing conflict.

Besides, a different report surfaced, which alleges that paid subscriber accounts were spreading “false or unsubstantiated narratives” relating to the war. The gravity of the crisis lies in the fact that the promotional content recorded 10 million views, at least globally.

Musk To Donate Advertising And Subscription Revenue

Although X didn’t respond directly on this matter, Musk announced a sudden decision to donate all the revenue from subscriptions and advertising to the war to the Red Cross/Crescent in Gaza and hospitals in Israel.

However, further clarity is needed to identify the nature of the content he referred to while making the announcement or whether it has anything to do with the accusations by lawmakers. Joe Benarroch, the Head of Business Operations at X, stated that they would be donating “a sizeable amount.”

The letter also points out the increasing public scrutiny of Linda Yaccarino, the CEO of X.

This controversy adds to the mounting pressure on X regarding the publication of extremist content on the platform.

Recently, several global brands who had been advertising on X quit the platform following the public endorsement of an antisemitic conspiracy theory by Musk.

While X is yet to cope with the financial loss, this allegation adds to its woes.

House Democrats demanded a response from the CEO by 1st December. This development comes on the heels of the Senate Judiciary Committee enlisting the US Marshals Service to serve Yaccarino with a subpoena personally.

This rare move was considered necessary after X refused to accept the subpoena on behalf of Yaccarino. On December 6, she is supposed to testify at a hearing on the online safety of children, which is likely to shift the focus further to the actions and policies of X.

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