Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, now renamed X, has led to a sharp increase in user engagement with foreign propaganda, according to a new report from NewsGuard.
The report found that, in the 90 days after Musk removed X’s “state affiliated” labels, engagement with posts from the English-language versions of RT, TASS, PressTV, and the Global Times shot up by 70 percent.
NewsGuard analysts say that X’s own algorithm is amplifying the content from these state-affiliated media outlets, thus creating a larger audience for it.
Prior to Musk’s takeover, Twitter claimed that content from “state affiliated” media could never be boosted by its algorithm. However, NewsGuard says that, since Musk’s takeover, stories from sites like RT and China Daily are “algorithmically recommended” in users’ “For You” feeds with some regularity.
Jack Brewster, an analyst with NewsGuard, said X now gives readers much less information about the sources from which they’re getting their news and that the site’s recently tweaked information filtering processes have clearly had a substantial effect on how disinformation spreads on the platform.
Musk’s changes to X have made an already complex informational landscape that much more confusing. Although X’s disinformation problem did not begin with Musk, but his changes have clearly dispensed with important guardrails that were designed to combat a certain amount of information pollution on the platform.
The sources for this piece include an article in Gizmodo.