July 20, 2024
X Communities start to look more like Facebook Groups with new member vetting feature

X posts that are corrected by Community Notes, the platform’s crowd-sourced fact-checking system, will become “ineligible for revenue share,” Elon Musk said Sunday.

“The idea is to maximize the incentive for accuracy over sensationalism,” he wrote.

The billionaire executive also noted that any attempts to “weaponize Community Notes to demonetize people will be immediately obvious, because all code and data is open source.”

Anybody can sign up to contribute to Community Notes. Contribution involves proposing a short note of context to any post by including an important omission or correcting an error. Other users from “different points of view” can then rate the helpfulness of the note or any other notes that are suggested. The notes that win the most consensus are the ones that surface to the top.

Demonetizing users whose posts have been corrected is the latest in a series of moves to create more accuracy on the platform, particularly as X struggles to keep up with the deluge of misinformation around the Israel-Hamas war.

In mid-October, X released a series of updates designed to improve accuracy via Community Notes. For example, an update that allows fact-checks to gather ratings more quickly could allow worthwhile and accurate notes to go live at a faster pace; and a scaled up feature that sends notifications to people whose activity had later received a fact-check could encourage those who spread misinformation or disinformation to remove posts or edit them to provide more context.

Today’s announcement could curtail the acceleration of sensationalist information contributed by creators, who have financial incentives to take part in the reaction economy. But this measure, along with the other recent updates, can also be seen as a mere stopgap that may not ultimately stem the tide of misinformation as the Israel-Hamas war, alongside the Russia-Ukraine war and countless other crises, unfolds.

X hasn’t shared the number of users who take part in the platform’s creator economy, but that number will be limited by the number of X Premium subscribers on the platform. According to data from Travis Brown, who has been tracking subscribers, suspensions and unsuspensions, as of August, there were fewer than 950,000 X Premium subscribers. In total, X has over 500 million monthly active users. So X Premium users make up less than 1% of total users. Since creators have to be Premium users, they would likely make up an even smaller chunk.

We also don’t know how unbiased the users on Community Notes are. X says they are a diverse set, but the company has not released demographics of those who have signed up — of which there are now over 100,000 in 44 countries, according to an October post from X CEO Linda Yaccarino.

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