X, formerly known as Twitter, has reportedly cut over half of its election integrity team, including the head of the group, Aaron Rodericks. This comes as a surprise since X had recently promised to expand the team ahead of the 2024 US elections. The decision to downsize the team was partially confirmed by Elon Musk, the CEO of X, in a post. The move is facing criticism, particularly from the European Commission, which has accused X of having a major disinformation problem.
According to reports, all four Dublin-based members of X’s election integrity team, including leader Aaron Rodericks, were let go. However, CEO Linda Yaccarino had just announced the company’s plans to expand its safety and election teams globally. X had also previously expressed the intention to hire a civic integrity and elections lead to combat disinformation. Rodericks, who had openly expressed his passion for protecting the integrity of elections, was subsequently suspended for liking posts critical of X, Musk, and Yaccarino. In response to the news, Musk stated that the team that was “undermining election integrity” is now gone.
The European Commission recently released a report on social media platforms’ handling of disinformation, which revealed that X had higher levels of mis- and disinformation compared to its peers. X disputed the framing of the data but stated its commitment to complying with the Digital Services Act (DSA), despite withdrawing from a voluntary Code of Practice on disinformation. The EU warned X to comply, and failure to do so could result in fines up to 6 percent of its global revenue. Despite these challenges, X has cut more than 80 percent of its staff since Elon Musk’s acquisition of the company. So far, Musk has faced minimal pushback for the decisions made at X.