Open Letter to X
Dear Mr Keene,
Re: Concern that recent changes to your user-reporting systems may have left Australian users unable to report electoral misinformation weeks away from a referendum
We write to report our urgent concerns about the ability for users to report electoral misinformation on your platform.
There now appears to be no channel to report electoral misinformation when discovered on your platform. We do not believe the loss of this feature is limited to Reset.Tech, rather, we believe all Australians are affected. We know of five separate individuals across Australia who have looked and are unable to report electoral misinformation. We believe this change occurred in the last week or two.
It is extremely concerning that Australians would lose the ability to report serious misinformation weeks away from a major referendum.
A recent change to your reporting process appears to have left Australian users unable to report electoral misinformation. This is because the categories for reporting in Australia offer no option to report electoral misinformation. Users are offered inappropriate categories such as hate speech, abuse, spam, imitation etc. Previously Australian users could select ‘It’s misleading’ about ‘Politics’ category. This may leave violative content subject to an inappropriate review process and not labelled or removed in compliance with your policies.
We appreciate that this may signal an end to the ‘test’ of allowing users to report electoral misinformation in Australia – at a disastrous point in time for Australia’s electoral integrity (see appendix 1). Alternatively, it could be a badly timed error that you wish to quickly rectify.
We believe this breaches your commitments under Australia’s misinformation code. Under Digi’s Australian Code of Practice on Disinformation and Misinformation, signatories to outcome 1c commit to enabling users to “report content or behaviours to Signatories that violate their policies … through publicly available and accessible reporting tools”. X’s Civic Integrity Policy makes clear that electoral misinformation is against your policies (see appendix 2). Users should be able to report this content appropriately.
We look forward to a timely reply, given the importance of ensuring the safety of Australia’s electoral integrity at the current time. Given our grave concerns about the risk of electoral harm and recent, publicly documented difficulties concerned stakeholders face attempting to contact X, we have decided to share this as an open letter.