House Democrats claim Elon Musk’s X program “profits from violent content” broadcast by Hamas
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More than two dozen House Democrats on Tuesday accused Elon Musk’s Company X of “profiting from violent content by a terrorist organization” and demanded that he and CEO Linda Yaccarino address Hamas-related content on the social media platform.
“The platform has become a hotbed of misinformation and terrorist propaganda,” the group of 27 Democrats, led by Reps. Dan Goldman of New York and Jamie Raskin of Maryland, wrote. In a letter obtained by CNBC.
They wrote that the issue of anti-Semitic content on The United States has classified Hamas as a terrorist group since 1997.
“Given the many egregious examples of X profiting from this content, we need detailed answers from X when considering potential legislation that would prevent such activity in the future,” the lawmakers wrote.
They gave Musk and Yaccarino until December 1 to provide “all written communications” related to the content moderation of any posts or accounts linked to Hamas.
In addition to the records, House Democrats asked Yaccarino and Musk to provide details on how X plans to address Hamas-related content currently on the platform. They also want to know what changes the company “plans to implement to ensure the harmful spread of terrorist propaganda never occurs again.”
X did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
This message comes as Musk, the richest man in the world, and
apple, DisneyAnd Comcast, the parent company of CNBC, are some of the major brands that paused their online advertising on X last week, after Musk publicly agreed with an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that “Jewish communities” were pushing “dialectical hatred against white people.”
“You told the actual truth,” Musk wrote last Wednesday in response to the post.
The exchange sparked strong condemnation from X users, Wall Street investors And Washington politicians. The White House accused Musk of promoting “racist and anti-Semitic hatred.”
The repercussions coincided with something new a report From the progressive nonprofit watchdog group Media Matters for America, which accused X of placing ads from major brands next to posts promoting Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich.
Musk has strongly denied the allegations that he is a bigot, writing in a post on Sunday that media reports calling him an anti-Semite for his rhetoric are “false” and “nothing could be further from the truth.”
“I wish only the best for humanity and a prosperous and exciting future for all,” he wrote.
He also repeatedly criticized Media Matters as “pure evil” and vowed to file a “nuclear lawsuit” on Monday against the outlet “and all those who colluded in this fraudulent attack on our company.”
Yaccarino, the former advertising chief at NBCUniversal who Musk hired in May as his CEO, said Thursday that X “has been very clear about our efforts to combat anti-Semitism and discrimination.”
In a statement on Saturday, Media Matters President Angelo Carosone criticized Musk’s legal threat as a “worthless” effort to “silence reports that he has even confirmed are accurate.”
Goldman and Raskin’s letter on Tuesday largely avoided mentioning Musk personally for his controversial posts.
Instead, Democrats highlighted several X accounts that reportedly “spread Hamas terrorist propaganda videos glorifying brutal acts of violence against Israelis.”
They cited reports last month from Technical Transparency Projector TTP, the research arm of the nonprofit watchdog organization Campaign for Accountability and the nonprofit think tank Institute for Strategic DialogueO.E.S.D.
The TTP investigation revealed accounts that paid for X’s Premium service to share uncensored graphics and videos including “bloodied bodies on the ground, and missile and drone attacks on Israeli tanks and vehicles.”
Meanwhile, the ISD report identified 128 posts from 45 unique accounts that “contained glorification and support for terrorist content on X” in just 24 hours between October 11 and 12.
Both reports noted that one of the Premium accounts spreading Hamas propaganda and anti-Semitic messages had been promoted by Musk himself in a way that… Post since deleted.
Reports also showed that X “profits from the spread of this nefarious and harmful propaganda through account subscription fees and advertising revenue,” the lawmakers wrote.
By purchasing X Premium, the accounts identified in the TPP and ISD reports “pay for verification without any formal vetting process and are promoted by the site’s algorithm,” the Democrats wrote.
The letter also cited a mid-October report from the disinformation tracking website NewsGuard, which analyzed 250 highly-engaged posts that promoted false or unsubstantiated claims related to the war between Israel and Hamas. It found that 186 of the 250 came from accounts that paid for premium verification.
This article originally appeared on www.cnbc.com