In spring 2020, Trump’s Twitter warnings on mail-in ballots sparked a swift response. The platform implemented fact-checking measures to address concerns raised. Fast forward to today, Elon Musk, now in charge of Twitter, rebranded as X, echoes similar claims about the American voting system, but this time without any fact checks.
With direct control over X’s algorithm, Elon Musk allows these unchecked posts to reach vast audiences, drawing millions of views. The dismantling of the fact-checking system raises concerns among civil rights lawyers, election administrators, and Democrats, fearing a resurgence of doubts about the American election system.
According to The Washington Post, the Biden campaign openly criticizes Musk’s handling of election-related content on X, labeling it “profoundly irresponsible” and expressing worry about the potential impact on public trust in elections. Julie Chávez Rodríguez, Biden’s campaign manager, underscores the danger of such actions, especially when from a major social media owner.
Pro-Trump Republicans and Twitter critics laud Musk’s stance, viewing him as countering government-controlled censorship that favored Biden in 2020. Harmeet K. Dhillon, Trump’s lawyer, dismisses Democratic complaints. She emphasizes that X is now “a much better place for conservatives” under Musk’s leadership.
Despite calls for comment, X remains silent. In a blog post, X’s chief executive, Linda Yaccarino, outlines the platform’s expanded approach to fact-checking through crowdsourced “community notes.” Notably, absent are such notes on Elon Musk voting-related posts. This stands in contrast to their presence on a post making wild claims about Biden’s victory.
Biden’s Limited Options
As concerns grow, according to Barron’s report, the Biden campaign finds itself with limited options. The campaign’s communication breakdown with the platform compels them to publicly denounce Musk’s actions. They work to uphold President Biden’s commitment to safeguarding elections.
Media Ownership Dynamics
Musk’s active political engagement on a national platform raises questions about evolving media ownership dynamics and their impact on democracy. The juxtaposition of Musk’s approach with that of traditional media owners like Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg underscores the changing landscape of media influence in the 21st century.