X changes its policy around 'newsworthy' posts that would otherwise break rules

The move could increase misinformation on the platform.


X (formerly Twitter) has made changes to its policy on newsworthy posts to allow more content that would ordinarily violate its rules to remain on the platform. The company made the modifications in the wake of Hamas' attacks in Israel.

Until now, the company would only grant a newsworthiness exception to accounts that had at least 100,000 followers. X has removed that threshold, as TechCrunch reports. The latest version of the policy stipulates that “high profile” accounts are eligible for a newsworthiness exception. The account in question also needs to represent "a current or potential member of a local, state, national or supra-national governmental or legislative body." Only elected officials and government figures have historically been eligible for the exemption.

X’s Safety account noted there’s been an upswing in daily active users in the region in recent days and that users have posted more than 50 million times about the conflict. The platform said that it was focused on “protecting the conversation on X” as the situation unfolds.

“Over the weekend, we updated our Public Interest Policy,” the company said. “We know that it's sometimes incredibly difficult to see certain content, especially in moments like the one unfolding. In these situations, X believes that, while difficult, it's in the public's interest to understand what's happening in real time.”

X also said it had removed “newly created Hamas-affiliated accounts” and is working with partners to reduce the spread of “terrorist content.” However, the change to the newsworthiness policy could enable more misinformation about the Israel-Hamas conflict (and other issues) to remain on X when it previously would have been yanked.

The company appears to be taking a more hands-off approach to misinformation in general under owner Elon Musk. It’s relying more on Community Notes to crowdsource contextual information about posts that may be false or misleading.

According to The Information, X killed off a tool in recent months that helped to tackle coordinated misinformation campaigns by detecting when multiple accounts shared the same piece of potentially doctored or mislabelled media. The company is said to have made that move to cut costs.

X flagged several false and misleading posts regarding the conflict, including ones with a video that claimed to show Israeli airstrikes against Hamas. However, a review by CNBC found that the platform’s systems did not detect many other posts with the same video and caption. The tool X recently shut down may have helped in that regard.

Correction, 4PM ET: This story mistakenly referred to the recent conflict taking place near the West Bank. That reference has been removed, and we apologize for the error.