Elon Musk threatens to demonetize X creators that spread verifiable falsehoods following EU disinformation crackdown


X owner Elon Musk

Any posts corrected by Community Notes are no longer eligible for ad revenue sharing.

Tom Williams—CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Elon Musk has warned creators who come to X and spread untruths they will see their proceeds from the platform ripped away.

Currently the arbiters of right and wrong on X are a group of volunteers charged with crowd-sourcing verification of content on the site.

The Community Notes function has proved relatively popular with users. The individuals who have taken it upon themselves to add verification footnotes for posts are also a boon for Musk—they’re effectively policing his site free of charge.

However, in an announcement late on Sunday, Musk handed more power to Community Notes amid claims the entrepreneur is not doing enough to fulfill his legal obligations in Europe: preventing the spread of disinformation under the new Digital Services Act.

“Any posts that are corrected by Community Notes become ineligible for revenue share,” he posted. “The idea is to maximize the incentive for accuracy over sensationalism.”

For anyone wondering who will watch the watchmen, Musk claimed the system would be self-correcting thanks to his decision to open his programming code up for public scrutiny. 

As a result, he said any attempts by his cohort of online safety sentinels to wield their collective authority as a weapon against creators they dislike would be “immediately obvious.”

Making a slight change to creator monetization:

Any posts that are corrected by @CommunityNotes become ineligible for revenue share.

The idea is to maximize the incentive for accuracy over sensationalism.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 29, 2023

The move comes shortly after the EU Commission launched a formal inquiry into whether the platform formerly known as Twitter had violated its obligations under the DSA. Days later Brussels followed with similar moves targeting Meta and TikTok.

A year of Musk at X

Last week’s one-year anniversary of Musk’s takeover of Twitter was a bittersweet one for the tycoon.

He had poorly timed his April 2022 bid, making an offer of $44 billion just before the stock market began to sell off. Subsequently he was forced to overpay dearly, financing the deal with $13 billion in debt he borrowed as interest rates were rising.

First he sought to raise much-needed cash by selling verification badges to anyone that wanted them. To placate high profile accounts often targeted by imposters, he’s now begun offering them a share of the ad revenue.

Since the subscriber revenue has failed to offset the money he’s lost from advertisers fleeing his platform, X now announced two new plans called Basic and Premium+ to flank its Premium subscription in the hopes of capturing more stable, recurring revenue.

Only by paying $16 a month for Premium+ will users no longer be fed ads in their timeline.

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