X Tops List for Disinformation on Social Networks, EU Study Finds

A recent study commissioned by the European Commission has revealed that X, formerly known as Twitter, has the highest proportion of disinformation among six major social networks. The study, which analysed over 6,000 unique social media posts across Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, X, and YouTube, focused on three countries deemed particularly vulnerable to disinformation: Spain, Poland, and Slovakia.

According to the study, Twitter had the largest “ratio of discoverability” of disinformation, indicating that a significant portion of sensitive content on the platform consisted of misleading or false information. In contrast, YouTube had the lowest proportion of disinformation.

Vera Jourova, the EU’s Values and Transparency Commissioner, issued a warning to X, emphasising the need for the platform to comply with existing regulations. She stated, “My message for [X] is: you have to comply with the hard law. We’ll be watching what you’re doing.” This study is part of ongoing efforts to support the EU’s code of practice on disinformation.

X, previously known as Twitter, had initially signed up for the voluntary code of practice on disinformation in 2018, along with several other social networks. However, the company withdrew from the code during Elon Musk’s leadership. Despite this withdrawal, X will be subject to the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), which regulates the conduct of major tech platforms. The EU intends to transition the voluntary code into a legally binding code of conduct under the DSA.

The study’s findings come amid concerns about the spread of disinformation, particularly in the context of Russian disinformation campaigns related to the Ukraine conflict. The EU has accused social media companies of failing to curb these campaigns, and Jourova stressed the need for large social media platforms to address this risk, as it poses a serious threat to democracy.

Given the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the upcoming European elections, addressing disinformation is considered a pressing issue. The EU is also actively working to tackle AI-generated disinformation in preparation for these elections, with discussions involving organisations like OpenAI.