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Elon Musk Is Spreading Election Misinformation, but X’s Fact Checkers Are Long Gone

Elon Musk’s Impact on Social Media and Election Conversations

In early 2020, when former President Donald J. Trump raised concerns about mail-in voting on Twitter, the platform responded by fact-checking his claims. Fast forward to today, Elon Musk, now the owner of Twitter (renamed X), is echoing similar sentiments about the integrity of American elections. However, unlike Trump’s experience, Musk’s posts are not subjected to fact checks or corrective labels.

Since taking over Twitter, Musk has dismantled the platform’s system for flagging false election content, arguing that it amounted to election interference. This move has sparked concerns among civil rights lawyers, election administrators, and Democrats who fear that Musk’s platform could revive doubts about the election system, similar to those prevalent before the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

The Biden campaign has criticized Musk for spreading false information about elections, calling it “profoundly irresponsible” and highlighting the dangers of such actions, especially coming from a social media platform owner. However, pro-Trump Republicans and others view Musk’s approach favorably, seeing it as a departure from what they perceive as government-controlled censorship under the old Twitter regime.

Musk’s influence extends beyond election content. He has reinstated previously banned accounts, including those spreading misinformation about the 2020 election, and his platform’s algorithm gives added promotion to verified accounts, some of which propagate false narratives about the election.

The shift in Twitter’s approach under Musk’s leadership has raised concerns about the spread of false voting information and its impact on democracy. While Twitter previously flagged or removed misleading election-related content, Musk has taken a more lenient stance, allowing posts that incite violence or spread false information about voting laws.

Despite widespread criticism, Musk continues to question the integrity of the American election system through his platform, contributing to a climate of doubt and uncertainty among millions of Americans. This has implications for election workers and officials, who face challenges in maintaining trust and confidence in the electoral process amid ongoing misinformation campaigns.

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