Does X's New Civic Integrity Policy Indicate a Return to Its Censorious Roots?

AP Photo/Michel Euler

There could be reason for concern about the direction X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, is taking when it comes to content moderation and free speech. After Elon Musk bought the company, he emphasized that he planned to turn it into a bastion for free expression. Now, the platform has rolled out a new policy that is ostensibly designed to ensure that users are getting accurate and safe information.

The announcement might sound good at first glance, but those who are familiar with the rampant politically-biased censorship that existed on the site might be wary about where the company is going.

The company’s safety department published a post on Tuesday stating that it “has a responsibility to put the right systems in place to ensure our communities have access to open, accurate, and safe political discourse.”

To this end, X is beefing up its staff, altering its policies, and making changes to the product. In a post on its website, the company explained:

During elections, X works to get in front of a range of tactics that people use to target the process. To do this we hire the right people, update our policies and evolve our product.

Our people: We’re currently expanding our safety and elections teams to focus on combating manipulation, surfacing inauthentic accounts and closely monitoring the platform for emerging threats.

Our policies: We have rules in place to help protect the safety and authenticity of conversations on X. During elections, our Civic Integrity Policy provides an extra layer of protection that is applied for a limited period of time before and during an election. We’re updating this policy to make sure we strike the right balance between tackling the most harmful types of content—those that could intimidate or deceive people into surrendering their right to participate in a civic process—and not censoring political debate.

The company also explained that it was expanding its Community Notes tool, which allows users to provide more context and fact-check posts that might be deceptive. The post noted that the company should not “determine the truthfulness of disputed information; rather, we should empower our users to express their opinions and openly debate during elections.”

None of this sounds harmful in theory. But the past decade has shown where this type of policy could lead – especially if it is being enforced by folks on the hard left.

Words like “harmful,” “safe,” and “accurate” are benign in and of themselves. But when used in this context, it is not difficult to see where this could lead. Interpretations of these terms could be rather subjective. What one determines to be “harmful” might be “safe” and “accurate” to another.

If one is on the hard left, pretty much any opinion that contradicts their ideology would be classified as “harmful.” When it comes to accuracy, they might deem any information, idea, argument, or suggestion that reflects a right-wing bent as being inaccurate. We have seen them doing this time and time again on multiple Big Tech platforms.

The Digital Gestapo that dominated the company’s content moderation team saw to it that progressive thought would enjoy supremacy over the platform. It shadowbanned accounts and censored posts coming from conservatives and libertarians while allowing left-leaning accounts to essentially get away with murder. The censorship reflected an effort to promote a political agenda, not ensure that people were not abusing the site. Remember the Hunter Biden laptop fiasco?

When Musk took over X, he vowed to allow for the free expression of ideas and do away with censorship based on politics. While his efforts have not been perfect, it is objectively a freer platform than it was under previous management. But this announcement does raise concerns that the company might give in to pressure from the progressive mob and foreign governments.

It is still too early to determine what this policy might look like as we dive deeper into election season. Hopefully, it does not result in the company going back to its censorious roots.


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