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X has cut over half its election integrity team including the head of the group, according to a report from The Information at least partially confirmed by Elon Musk in an X post. That’s despite X recently promising to expand the team ahead of 2024 US elections, and in the face of criticism from the European Commission that X has a major disinformation problem.
X reportedly cut all four Dublin, Ireland-based members of the team, including leader Aaron Rodericks. Yet only yesterday, CEO Linda Yaccarino said X was planning to expand its safety and election teams around the world, according to The Financial Times. And less than a month ago, the company was planning to hire a civic integrity and elections lead focused on combatting disinformation. “If you have a passion for protecting the integrity of elections and civic events, X is certainly at the center of the conversation,” said Rodericks in a LinkedIn post.
Rodericks was subsequently suspended for liking posts critical of X, Musk and Yaccarino. After The Information published its story and it was quoted by X News Daily, Musk responded: “Oh you mean the ‘Election Integrity’ Team that was undermining election integrity? Yeah, they’re gone.”
Yesterday, the EU released its first report on social media platforms’ handling of disinformation as part of the Digital Services Act (DSA), finding that X had much higher levels of mis- and disinformation than its peers. X said in a series of posts that it disputed the “framing” of the data and remained “committed to complying with the DSA” despite pulling out of a voluntary Code of Practice on disinformation. In a statement accompanying the report, European Vice President Vera Jourova said that “my message for Twitter/X is you have to comply. We will be watching what you do.”
However, since Elon Musk purchased X (née Twitter) last October, the company has cut more than 80 percent of its staff, and the company already had challenges staying on top of disinformation prior to his tenure. Under the DSA, X must comply with the stricter laws or face fines up to 6 percent of its annual global revenue — though to date, Musk has faced very little pushback for all that’s happened with X.