X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter, has been identified as one of the biggest propagators of fake news and disinformation, as cautioned by European Union officials on Tuesday. They specifically called on owner Elon Musk to intensify efforts to curb the dissemination of such content.
While X was highlighted, the EU’s concerns extended beyond it. They also appealed to other tech giants, including Google, TikTok, Microsoft, and Meta, urging them to take more robust measures against disinformation, a substantial portion of which originates from Russia. This call to action is particularly pertinent in the lead-up to upcoming elections in some countries.
On Tuesday, the European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, released a study examining six online platforms in Poland, Slovakia, and Spain. Concerns have arisen regarding the surge in disinformation, particularly in the context of the upcoming parliamentary elections in Slovakia scheduled for this Saturday, as well as next month’s elections in Poland. Additionally, the European Parliament elections are on the horizon for next year.
X stood out with the unenviable distinction of being identified as the platform most frequently utilized for disinformation campaigns.
Vera Jourova, Vice President of the European Commission, expressed in prepared remarks that X exhibited the “largest ratio of mis/disinformation posts” among the platforms that submitted reports to the EU. Of particular concern is the rapidity with which disseminators of fake news manage to reach their target audience.
Jourova continued, adding:
Disinformation actors were found to have significantly more followers. And tend to have joined the platform more recently than non-disinformation users. I expect the platforms to do more efforts with better results. Russian propaganda and disinformation is still very present on online platforms. This is not business as usual; the Kremlin fights with bombs in Ukraine, but with words everywhere else, including in the EU.