A group of over 25 Democratic members of Congress have raised allegations against X, once again ignoring the First Amendment and calling for online censorship.
They assert that the company is both allowing and profiting from the dissemination of false and violent content, particularly regarding the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
On Tuesday, these lawmakers, including notable figures such as Reps. Dan Goldman, Jamie Raskin, Jerry Nadler, Bennie Thompson, Katie Porter, and Adam Schiff, addressed a letter to Linda Yaccarino, CEO of X, and Elon Musk, its owner.
We obtained a copy of the pressure letter for you here.
They expressed concern over X’s alleged negligence in enforcing its policies against the spread of misleading information and content promoting violence, hate, and terrorism.
The letter specifically points out the drastic reduction in X’s content moderation staff over the past year, suggesting that the company has deliberately allowed and even benefited from the illegal circulation of terrorist propaganda. This conduct, according to the legislators, is completely inappropriate for a platform as globally influential as X.
Further, the letter highlights reports from the Tech Transparency Project and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.
“We are demanding that you uphold your public commitments and enforce your policies. Accordingly, no later than December 1, 2023, we request that you provide all forms of written communications, including email, text messages, other messaging services, or X direct messages, relating to content moderation for any posts or accounts associated with, related to, or connected to Hamas,” the letter states.
The lawmakers underscore that X Premium, a subscription service offering features like prioritized ranking in conversations and searches, might be indirectly facilitating the profit from the spread of such content. They note that X gains financially from subscription fees and ad revenue generated from these accounts.
Elon Musk recently declared that all X revenue from ads and subscriptions on content regarding the conflict will be donated to charities in the impacted region.
Additionally, the letter accuses X of profiting from subscribers who spread false and misleading narratives about the Israel-Hamas war.
Further, this month, Representatives Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat from New Jersey, and Don Bacon, a Republican from Nebraska, introduced a bill aimed at countering the uptick of alleged false information disseminated on TikTok and other online platforms amid the recent Israel-Hamas conflict.
Gottheimer clarified during a media briefing, “This legislation will require social media companies to release detailed reports of violations to their terms and services and how they’re addressing these violations, which includes using their platforms for terrorist purposes…It also requires the intelligence community to provide a threat assessment about what’s happening on social media.”
The proposed law, titled the Stopping Terrorists Online Presence and Holding Accountable Tech Entities Act or the Stop Hate Act, incorporates a $5 million daily penalty for any social media enterprise non-compliant with the proposed bill’s conditions. The act is vocally supported by the ADL.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed similar legislation in 2022, only to have a judge denounce it as a violation of the First Amendment.
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