Elon Musk, the owner of X, announced on Wednesday a reduction in staff within X's "election integrity" division.
The team initially was tasked with safeguarding the sanctity of elections and countering potential interference and manipulation on the social media platform.
Musk does not believe that was all they were doing.
"Oh you mean the 'Election Integrity' Team that was undermining election integrity? Yeah, they're gone," he posted on X in response to reports of the cuts.
The extent of the team's personnel reduction remains uncertain.
Initial reports from TheInformation.com indicated that four individuals in Dublin were affected, including the team's leader, Aaron Rodericks, according to an anonymous source with knowledge of the matter, The Hill reported.
The cuts transpired less than a month after X proclaimed an augmentation of its safety and elections team to "focus on combating manipulation, surfacing inauthentic accounts, and closeby monitoring the platform for emerging threats."
The personnel reductions have been introduced as part of Musk's broader initiative to scale back content moderation policies on the platform. Additionally, Musk initiated a cap on the number of posts users are allowed to access daily.
Concurrently, previously suspended accounts, such as former President Donald Trump's, have been reinstated.
Since assuming control of the platform formerly known as Twitter, Musk has embarked on a series of contentious decisions: substantial workforce reductions, the dismissal of high-ranking executives, and the introduction of the Twitter Blue program. The latter requires a monthly subscription fee for users seeking verification checks.
Additionally, X has recently faced criticism from antihate-speech organizations following revelations that the platform had not taken proactive measures against numerous "extreme hate speech" posts, sparking concerns about its content moderation practices.
In August, the social media platform highlighted the implementation of its civic integrity policy, which establishes safety standards and delineates rules aimed at combating election interference, addressing unverified media content, and thwarting deceptive identities on the platform.
Conversely, Kyle Morse, the deputy executive director of the Tech Oversight Project, said in a news release, "Since taking charge of X, Elon Musk has used the platform to foment antisemitism, hate speech, and disinformation — playing into the hands of bad actors like Russia, China, and Iran. Decimating their election integrity team — on top of last year's firings — means that X will continue to be a toxic hellscape that people and advertisers should avoid."
Jim Thomas is a writer based in Indiana. He holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, a law degree from U.I.C. Law School, and has practiced law for more than 20 years.
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