X will allow political ads again and is hiring for safety and election teams

August 30, 2023  14:24

Ahead of the upcoming 2024 US presidential election, the rebranded platform X, previously known as Twitter, is making significant moves by bolstering its safety and elections teams. The company has also revealed its decision to reintroduce political advertisements after a hiatus since 2019.

In a recent blog post on Tuesday, X articulated its proactive measures to enhance platform security and protect the integrity of democratic processes. The platform aims to combat manipulation, identify inauthentic accounts, and closely monitor emerging threats through the expansion of its safety and elections teams.

The announcement follows a series of transformations that have reshaped X's content moderation strategies, largely prompted by the leadership shift last fall, when Elon Musk assumed control. Under his leadership, substantial layoffs occurred, affecting areas responsible for safety, platform integrity, and election policy – reportedly reducing the workforce by around 80%.

Elon Musk has been critical of X's previous management, particularly their handling of political discourse, which he accused of censorship. As the US election season heats up, X is keen to demonstrate its commitment to fostering a fair and transparent environment for political conversation while curbing misinformation.

X's renewed civic integrity policy, designed to prevent manipulation and interference in elections, will be in effect for a "limited period of time before and during an election," according to the company's Tuesday blog post. Striking a balance between combatting harmful content and preserving open political debate, the policy will result in public labels being applied to posts that breach these guidelines, and users will be informed of any content reach limitations.

Notably, X's approach to tackling misinformation in the upcoming election aligns with its previous methods. For instance, during the lead-up to the 2022 midterms, the platform adopted labeling and demotion measures for false claims about voting processes or election outcomes.

In another significant move, X is lifting its restrictions on political advertising, keeping its promise of expanding this facet of the platform. While this marks a shift from its 2019 ban due to concerns over misleading information, X is keen on enforcing stringent policies to prohibit the promotion of false or misleading content. The goal is to preserve the integrity of the electoral process and uphold open political discourse.

To provide transparency to users and fulfill legal obligations, X is set to establish a "global advertising transparency center." This feature will empower users to review political ads, aligning with Europe's Digital Services Act, which large tech platforms are now mandated to adhere to.

As X, the once-familiar Twitter, navigates the challenges of the upcoming US presidential election, its series of strategic moves underline its commitment to safeguarding democratic processes, ensuring transparency, and promoting healthy political discourse on its platform.

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