X takes down hundreds of accounts with Hamas ties, flags content

Platform’s CEO describes efforts to handle illegal and fake content on site since Hamas’s onslaught Saturday, generate fact checking on posts

Palestinians in the West Bank city of Nablus celebrate on October 7, 2023, after Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel from the Gaza Strip and launched a brutal large-scale attack on Israeli towns and cities. (Photo by Jaafar ASHTIYEH / AFP)
File: Palestinians in the West Bank city of Nablus celebrate on October 7, 2023, after Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel from the Gaza Strip and launched a large-scale attack on Israeli towns and cities. (Photo by Jaafar ASHTIYEH / AFP)

Elon Musk’s social media platform X has removed hundreds of Hamas-linked accounts and taken down or labeled thousands of pieces of content since the terror group’s murderous assault on Israel, according to the CEO of the company formerly known as Twitter.

Linda Yaccarino on Thursday outlined efforts by X to get a handle on illegal content flourishing on the platform. She was responding to a warning from a top European Union official, who requested information on how X is complying during the Israel-Hamas war with tough new EU digital rules aimed at cleaning up social media platforms.

“So far since the start of the conflict X has identified and removed hundreds of Hamas-affiliated accounts from the platform,” Yaccarino said in a letter posted on X.

The platform is “proportionately and effectively assessing and addressing identified fake and manipulated content during this constantly evolving and shifting crisis,” she wrote in response to the request from European Commissioner Thierry Breton, the digital enforcer for the 27-nation bloc.

Under the EU’s Digital Services Act, which took effect in August, social media companies have to step up policing of their platforms for illegal content, under threat of hefty fines.

“There is no place on X for terrorist organizations or violent extremist groups and we continue to remove such accounts in real-time, including proactive efforts,” Yaccarino said.

File: Workers install lighting on an “X” sign atop the company headquarters, formerly known as Twitter, in San Francisco, on July 28, 2023. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

X has taken action to “remove or label tens of thousands of pieces of content” and pointed out that Community Notes — a feature that allows users to add their own fact-checks to posts — is “visible on thousands of posts, generating millions of impressions.”

Since billionaire Musk acquired Twitter last year and renamed it, experts say the platform has become not just unreliable but actively promotes falsehoods, while a study commissioned by the EU found that it’s the worst-performing platform for online disinformation.

Rivals such as TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook also are coping with a flood of unsubstantiated rumors and falsehoods about the Middle Eastern conflict, playing the typical whack-a-mole that erupts each time a news event captures world attention.

Terror group Hamas launched a devastating multi-pronged attack on Israel Saturday, breaching the border fence. Over 1,500 gunmen poured into the country alongside a barrage of 5,000 rockets fired at towns and cities across Israel. The terrorists spent hours brutally rampaging through southern areas, killing over 1,300 people, the vast majority of them civilians. In addition, the attackers abducted some 150 men, women, and children and took them captive into Gaza.

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