Elon Musk’s takeover of platform X (formerly Twitter) has led to the cancellation, suspension, or modification of over 100 social network studies due to his restrictive policies. These changes have significantly hampered researchers’ ability to track and analyze the spread of misinformation during critical real-time events.
A survey of 167 researchers revealed that a tool providing access to data on up to 10 million tweets per month has been revoked. This has caused widespread fear of potential lawsuits from X over research findings or data usage.
Musk’s policies have resulted in at least a 55% drop in X’s advertising revenue in the U.S., along with a significant advertiser exodus. The survey details that 30 research projects have been canceled, 47 are on hold, and 27 have had to switch platforms, while 47 continue with limitations.
The affected studies cover crucial topics, including hate speech and child safety on the platform. The European Union has taken notice and is investigating X’s misinformation management, which could lead to hefty fines if infractions of the new stringent internet regulations are found.
The current situation poses a significant risk of increasing X users’ vulnerability to hate speech and misinformation, highlighting the critical importance of independent research in the digital information age.