Title: University of Washington Study Reveals Unreliable Accounts Dominate News Flow on X Platform during Israel-Hamas Conflict
In a recent study conducted by the University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public, it has been discovered that unreliable and influential accounts are overpowering mainstream news outlets in terms of popularity and engagement on the X platform, particularly during the Israel-Hamas conflict. What’s more, some of these accounts have even received promotion from the renowned entrepreneur, Elon Musk.
During a three-day analysis of viral posts regarding the conflict, which began with Israel’s attack on Oct. 7, it was found that news on X platform is faster, more disorienting, and perhaps even influenced by Musk himself. Researchers, academics, and journalists have increasingly voiced concerns about the negative impact Twitter has undergone in terms of news and information flow, specifically since the onset of the Israel-Hamas crisis.
Furthermore, a separate analysis conducted by NewsGuard revealed that verified accounts on Twitter were responsible for nearly three-fourths of the most viral misinformation surrounding the Israel-Hamas war. The researchers identified seven high-performing accounts on X platform as “new elites” who wield disproportionate power and influence over Israel and Hamas news. These accounts include a right-wing Polish news aggregator, a Twitter celebrity known for cryptocurrency discussions, an account run by an Australian-Muslim doctor, a conservative site’s co-founder, and an account with ties to a previously misogynistic influencer.
Despite having fewer followers, tweets posted by these accounts regarding the Israel-Hamas war outperformed those from popular news accounts such as CNN and The New York Times. This transition can be attributed to the changes made by Musk to the X platform, which have pushed it in a new direction and removed various credibility signals, including verification badges and fact-checks distributed through Twitter Trends.
Musk’s interactions and recommendations are believed to have played a significant role in increasing the prominence of these news-focused sources. The “new elite” accounts tend to post more frequently than traditional news outlets, employing urgent language, emojis, and often lacking proper sourcing or context. This results in a constant stream of decontextualized anger and violence.
Over the past two years, these “new elite” accounts have witnessed a dramatic surge in followers, potentially due to Musk’s interactions with them. It is worth noting that all of these accounts boast blue verified badges, indicating that they pay a monthly subscription fee of $8 to subscribe to X’s premium service.
These findings highlight the escalating influence of unreliable accounts on X platform, especially during significant global events such as the Israel-Hamas war. As concerns grow regarding the flow of news and information on social media, it becomes imperative to scrutinize the sources of information we encounter and separate fact from fiction.
“Zombie enthusiast. Subtly charming travel practitioner. Webaholic. Internet expert.”