Musk’s X Platform Faces Backlash for Removing News Article Headlines

Musk's X Platform Faces Backlash for Removing News Article Headlines
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Elon Musk’s social media platform, known as X, has made changes that have removed headlines from news articles shared by its users. This decision is causing some users to express concerns about the platform’s ability to distinguish between news and other types of information, potentially impacting its trustworthiness.

Elon Musk, the owner of X and the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has been critical of what he calls “legacy media” and believes that X, formerly known as Twitter, provides a superior source of information. However, he has stated that the recent change was primarily made for “aesthetic” reasons, resulting in news and other links appearing as pictures without accompanying text.

Musk’s takeover of Twitter and its subsequent transformation into X, along with the dismissal of numerous staff members, have drawn criticism. Additionally, the platform has faced scrutiny for allowing banned conspiracy theorists and extremists to return, which led to advertisers leaving. Musk has also temporarily banned and reinstated various journalists from mainstream outlets like the Washington Post and CNN, as well as appearing to delay posts from accounts such as the New York Times.

Musk himself expressed his reduced reliance on traditional news sources, stating, “I almost never read legacy news anymore” and questioned the need to read lengthy articles when information is already available on X.

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These changes have strained relations with media groups, with some choosing to stop posting on X due to the rise in hate speech and Musk’s behavior. French news outlets, including AFP, initiated a legal case against X for copyright breaches.

The modification to links, initially proposed in August, gradually rolled out this week. Instead of displaying a headline alongside a picture, users now see only a picture with a small watermark. This alteration has prompted criticism, with journalist Tom Warren of The Verge website describing it as “the latest in a long line of dumb changes on this platform.”

Some users have expressed difficulty in distinguishing news from other forms of information, raising questions about the platform’s trustworthiness. In September, the European Commission reported that X had a higher ratio of misinformation and disinformation compared to other social media platforms.

The strained relationship between tech companies and media is not unique to X, as both Google and Meta have pushed back against laws requiring them to compensate media companies for displaying news stories. These changes have had real-world consequences, with Axios news site reporting a significant decline in referrals to media websites from X and Meta’s Facebook over the past three years.

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