Musk Pulls Plug on Paying for X Factchecks

Musk Pulls Plug on Paying for X Factchecks – Elon Musk announced that posts on X would no longer be compensated for corrections, as the social network has faced increasing criticism for facilitating the spread of misinformation. After taking control of Twitter, now renamed X, for a year, Musk significantly reduced content moderation, reinstated accounts of previously banned extremists, and enabled users to buy account verification, thus enabling them to profit from viral but often inaccurate posts. 

Musk has shifted his focus to promote Community Notes, wherein X users monitor the platform to combat misinformation. However, on Sunday, Musk tweeted a change in the operation of Community Notes. “Making a slight change to creator monetization: Any posts that are corrected by @CommunityNotes become ineligible for revenue share,” he wrote. “The idea is to maximize the incentive for accuracy over sensationalism,” he added.

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X compensates content creators who generate substantial viewership with a portion of advertising revenue. Musk cautioned against using corrections as a means to disqualify X users from receiving these payouts. “Worth ‘noting’ that any attempts to weaponize @CommunityNotes to demonetize people will be immediately obvious, because all code and data is open source,” he posted.

Musk’s announcement came after the introduction of a $16-a-month subscription plan on Friday, where users who pay more receive the greatest enhancements for their responses. Earlier this year, an $8-a-month plan was introduced to obtain a “verified” account. A recent study by the disinformation monitoring group NewsGuard revealed that verified, paying subscribers were the primary sources of misinformation regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict.

“Nearly three-fourths of the most viral posts on X advancing misinformation about the Israel-Hamas War are being pushed by ‘verified’ X accounts,” the group said. NewsGuard reported that the 250 most popular posts endorsing ten prominent false or unverified narratives about the war were collectively viewed over 100 million times worldwide in a single week. 

Among these posts, 186 were created by verified accounts, with only 79 having undergone fact-checking by Community Notes. NewsGuard observed that verified accounts inadvertently provided a platform for individuals spreading misinformation, terming it a benefit for bad actors. “For less than the cost of a movie ticket, they have gained the added credibility associated with the once-prestigious blue checkmark and enabling them to reach a larger audience on the platform,” it said.

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Although the organization noted the presence of misinformation on various other social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Telegram, it emphasized that false narratives regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict tend to gain significant traction on X before spreading to other platforms.

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