X, formerly Twitter, is updating its monetization program so accounts that spread false information don’t get payments. This “slight change,” according to Elon Musk, “is to maximize the incentive for accuracy over sensationalism.”
When Musk announced the kick-off of its monetization program, spreading misinformation just to get more impressions was a concern for many users. Now, posts that are fact-checked by X Community Notes will no longer be eligible for monetization. Musk also addressed the “weaponizing” of Community Notes to demonetize accounts. The platform requires contributors to add their sources to their fact checks to avoid this.
What caused this change?
The ongoing conflict in Gaza and Israel triggered this change as journalists and fact-checkers noticed the alarming amount of misinformation being spread on the platform. Financial Times reported that the European Union (EU) opened an investigation into how X, among other social media platforms, is handling misinformation on its site.
Fact check delays
However, fact checks on the platform have been experiencing delays. According to a NBC report, a member of Community Notes showed them that hundreds of thousands of posts containing misinformation either have no notes or unapproved notes sitting for days. NBC noted that 8% of 120 posts related to the Israel-Hamas conflict had published community notes, while 26% had unpublished notes yet to be approved.
It’s worth noting that Musk proclaimed he would form a “content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints” upon his takeover of the platform a year ago. The company removed useful tools on the app that report misinformation and replaced them with Community Notes instead.
Demonitizing accounts that spread misinformation is a good step. However, a measure needs to be taken aside from adding a note on the posts.