X Booted Out Of Social Self-Reg Code Following Inaction On Voice To Parliament Disinformation

X Booted Out Of Social Self-Reg Code Following Inaction On Voice To Parliament Disinformation

X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, has been kicked out of Australia’s code for managing misinformation and disinformation online due to its lack of response to user complaints during the Voice to Parliament referendum.

Lead image; Linda Yaccarino, CEO, X

Twitter and subsequently X, had been a signatory to the Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation (ACPDM) but, following a complaint from tech and research policy body Reset Australia, it has been removed.

Reset’s main gripe was that X closed accessible channels for the public to report mis- and disinformation during the referendum. Under the mandatory terms of the ACPDM, DIGI, the group that administrates the Code, found that X had to be removed.

When called to explain itself by DIGI, X’s relevant executive dropped out of the meeting two hours before citing ill health, despite DIGI maintaining it gave the company “adequate notice”. X didn’t provide any written submission to the meeting, either.

DIGI said that X promised documents in its defence would be submitted the day after the meeting but these never materialised.

“Repeated attempts to engage with X by DIGI and Reset Australia have failed to elicit any response to the complaint. The sub-committee has had no contact with X in relation to this matter”, the body said.

“On Monday Nov 27 the Sub-Committee met with DIGI and conveyed their finding noting that X’s refusal to engage in any way with the process was disappointing and irresponsible”.

This is not the first time that X has received widespread criticism of its actions to counter mis- and disinformation online. Now owned by controversial billionaire Elon Musk, the site has completely upended previous policies and replaced them with Community Notes, where users are expected to self-regulate.

Alice Dawkins, executive director, of Reset Australia, which submitted the complaint said: “While we are pleased that the Complaints Sub-Committee agreed with our argument, this is a sombre occasion. Removal of signatory status is a last-resort measure and not something to be celebrated – it represents a breakdown in engagement. We urgently need legislation in Australia that empowers timely and impactful regulatory action when tech companies fail on their promises.”

Dr Rys Farthing, director of research & policy at Reset Australia added: “The outcome today places Australia where Europe was in 2019, when it was broadly recognised that the voluntary disinformation code had failed. In came the Digital Services Act, which is now producing transparency measures Australia can only dream of. The next steps, of comprehensive legislation that pragmatically reckons with the limits of co-regulation, are abundantly clear.”

X canned its press office last year, making the company unable to contact.

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