back to article Musk, Yaccarino contradict each other on status of X's election integrity team

It's only been a day since rumors began swirling that X, formerly Twitter, had disabled features allowing users to report election misinformation, and the confusion hasn't been cleared up by dueling statements from platform owner Elon Musk and CEO Linda Yaccarino. Responding to researcher claims that X had eliminated the …

  1. aerogems Silver badge
    Holmes

    I call shenanigans

    I do not believe for whatever fraction of a second you want to specify that Twitter is anywhere near profitable. That just smacks of some questionable accounting practices. "If we ignore all these massive liabilities like back rent and compensation owed to laid off employees, and combine that with the most rosy of potential outcomes with advertisers and gullible idiots paying for a blue checkmark, we could potentially be profitable!" The only way I'd believe they aren't doing something like that is if they opened their books... which, of course, they won't do because then people would be able to see exactly how bad things are there.

    That said, there was an article I saw the other day about how Twitler announced Yaccarino was the new CEO before she even had a chance to tell her NBC bosses. She was preparing for some big trade conference presentation when Twitler xcreeted the news, causing a bit of a kerfuffle. So, why she would then be so stupid as to ignore the advice given to her by someone in a similar position not too long ago... When Twitler turns on her, I won't feel the least bit bad for her. She was warned, she had plenty of evidence right in front of her, and she chose to ignore it all. Also, her comments are not even necessarily accurate. They both worked at Twitter, since she came on before the rename.

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: I call shenanigans

      Their profitability might get even worse. Media Matters did some investigation and found NFL ads on five "major" (collectively the five had a million followers) white nationalist pages. When they asked the NFL for comment, the NFL immediately went to Twitter with questions.

      If Twitler isn't able to fix that immediately and permanently, he will lose the NFL as an advertiser, and likely a lot of others would follow as they'd figure if Twitter can't even guarantee a huge advertiser like the NFL don't have ads appearing on racist pages there's no reason they should believe any assurances for their own ads.

      So I wouldn't be shocked to see Media Matters on Musk's hit list next, if they aren't already there.

      1. aerogems Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: I call shenanigans

        I saw something about that, though I didn't really read the details. I'm betting Twitler will make a bunch of big promises, a couple weeks will pass, nothing will have changed, and then it's just a matter of whether the NFL (and others) bother to follow up and make good on threats to yank ad dollars from the site.

        On a semi-related note, it all just goes to show once again that Twitler fundamentally misunderstands the very business model of Twitter, still hasn't managed to learn a goddamn thing in all the time he's owned it, and clearly just wanted to be queen bitch of his own mean girls platform which seemed like a great idea while on some kind of drug fueled bender. After all, the way a company like Twitter makes money is monetizing posts by placing ads by tweets. You can probably charge more for people who have large numbers of followers. But, at the same time, if the bulk of what's on Twitter these days is just hate speech and conspiracy theory nonsense, which most companies won't want to be associated with in any way... you find yourself having to basically increase the ad count per page. You have to put a bunch of piddly low value ads on all the nazi, white nationalist, xenophobe, and closeted gay/trans culture warriors who are obsessed with people's genitals, and then the higher value ads go on the few remaining people actually putting out anything of any worth. The bots will be of trivial concern to people when it's like that old SNL sketch where they're doing a news broadcast and then keep introducing more and more things on the screen until the anchor is just this tiny window in the corner. Then it ends with something like, "And here's a picture of a Terminator doll! It doesn't have anything to do with what we're talking about, but it looks really cool!" And of course that ends up covering the entire screen.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: I call shenanigans

          then it's just a matter of whether the NFL (and others) bother to follow up and make good on threats to yank ad dollars

          Oh there's no doubt if it comes to it that the NFL would do that. They aren't afraid of the MAGA types. Remember a few years ago the whole controversy about "kneeling" that caused Trump and all his acolytes to clutch their pearls and state they were going to quit watching the NFL? Nothing happened.

          Those brave couch potato culture warriors might be able to quit drinking Bud Light since there are alternatives that are pretty much the same thing, but there are no alternatives to the NFL. The NFL can tell Musk to eat shit and all he could do about it is whine on his dying platform and call on right wing media to demand boycotts which go nowhere.

  2. abend0c4 Silver badge

    I work at X

    Bless.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I work at X

      Ah, it is you?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey Elon

    better watch your back or you will be called to give evidence against Joe Biden. After all, it seems that everyone and their dogs are being called up in the attempt to pin something on Joe just to keep your boss (Trumpo) out of jail.

    As a never user of Twittler he can't ban me but I would love to see mass demos of people proclaiming that Twitter lives wherever he goes. For a lot of users, it will never be 'X' in a million years.

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: Hey Elon

      After all, it seems that everyone and their dogs are being called up in the attempt to pin something on Joe just to keep your boss (Trumpo) out of jail.

      After all, it seems that everyone and their dogs are being called up in the attempt to pin something on Trump just to keep your boss (Biden) out of jail.

      How many lawsuits does Trump have against him now? Trump was impeached for daring to ask about corruption and Burisma. Biden gave a speech where he bragged about getting a prosecutor investigating Burisma fired. The media claimed a certain laptop was 'Russian disinformation', and now the owner of said laptop is sueing for invasion of privacy.. Which would seem to confirm ownership of said laptop and the media's claims of 'disinformation' to be, well, disinformation.

      But such is the problem with censorship and authoritarianism. Make no mistake, these calls for 'regulation' and punishment are to ensure that only the 'official' disinformation is allowed to circulate. As for hate-speech, that also faces similar problems with definitions and free speech. I should be free to call the EU a useless, corrupt shower of shite because it's objectively true. EUrocrats may be offended by this characterisation, but shouldn't we be entitled to hold truth to power?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hey Elon

        The lawsuits are still ongoing. When will you MAGA types realise you're supporting a list, cheat, and conman?

        He's even been stopped from running businesses in New York state due to corruption. I suppose that's all the felt of lefties and the EU too?

        1. aerogems Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: Hey Elon

          I am absolutely riveted by the fact that the NY judge basically ordered the dissolution of the Trump Organization. Pretty much everything Trump owns--including his current residence of Mar-a-Lago, no doubt as part of some kind of tax dodge, is owned by the Trump Organization. A company that is now effectively being forced out of business, or at least he won't be in direct control of it anymore. He might have to start paying rent down at Mar-a-Lago, and of course all his helicopters and jets are owned by the Trump Organization ultimately, so he won't be able to use those anymore. Now granted if they sell off anything, Trump will almost certainly get the proceeds, minus any fines imposed by the Court, but he could essentially end up homeless if they sell Mar-a-Lago out from under him, along with all his other properties where he sometimes takes up residence. I wonder what the secret service plan is for a homeless ex-president scenario.

          1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

            Re: Hey Elon

            I am absolutely riveted by the fact that the NY judge basically ordered the dissolution of the Trump Organization.

            Nope, just stripped it of it's NY business licence. A bit of legal paper shuffling and assets can be moved under new entities that may even be entitled to licences themselves. Or Trump just appeals and counter-sues on the basis that the Judge has exceeded their authority and has administered justice before any verdict has even been returned.

            But then I'm also a fan of Louis Rossman and his tales of trying to do business in NY. Given the level of iincompetence and corruption displayed by NYC, why anyone would want to do business there is a mystery.. But then many businesses are rapidly escaping from New York. Perhaps John Carpenter was right about NYC's future..

            1. aerogems Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: Hey Elon

              Trump, Trump Jr, and idiot child Eric, will likely be unable to have any kind of direct involvement in the companies. Ivanka seems smart enough to distance herself from her idiot siblings and father, Tiffany has her law license to think about and probably wants to stay TF away from her family, and Barron is what, like 15? I wouldn't trust Melania with any of that if I were him, not after finding out he was boinking porn stars while she was pregnant, and the only reason she's still likely around is because the prenup would leave her with nothing. Put her in legal control of a few billion dollars worth of assets, she'd probably divorce Trump, and leave him with nothing except whatever alimony she might be required to pay.

              The Court is basically already requesting both sides submit names for who should be named the receiver of the business, and then whether they choose to continue it as a going concern or wind down operations would be up to them.

              Again, expand your news diet beyond Fox News. At least assuming you want to continue pretending like you're not a paid troll.

              1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                Re: Hey Elon

                I wouldn't trust Melania with any of that if I were him, not after finding out he was boinking porn stars while she was pregnant,

                Again, normal for politicians. Bill Clinton was boinking interns and spending a lot of time at Epstein Island. Biden jnr was boinking anything with a pulse, sometimes in a purely transactional arrangement, sometimes as a 'legitimate' business expense.. But then that's one of the issues currently being investigated, ie what exactly is the Biden family business, and how much tax is due?

                Politicians on all sides get up to some shady business and shouldn't be above the law. Yet when the judiciary is no longer impartial, and is weaponised against political opponents.. Then it's rather hard to object when other nations do the same thing. Anyway, I'm assuming you're American, so why are you so opposed to Making America Great Again? Would you rather see it self-destructing?

                1. aerogems Silver badge

                  Re: Hey Elon

                  You need to tell your troll farmer bosses to get you a better script. One that doesn't rely on whataboutism.

                  1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                    Re: Hey Elon

                    You need to tell your troll farmer bosses to get you a better script. One that doesn't rely on whataboutism.

                    Sorry, I don't need official disinformation telling me what to think, because I'm fortunate enough to be able to think for myself. As for whataboutery, you probably don't realise you're doing exactly the same thing, as instructed. Impeachment enquiry into the Bidens just kicked off, and the Dem's response has mostly been "But what about Trump?". Trump asks about possible corruption in Ukraine, and gets impeached by the Dems. Biden has a prosecutor investigation corruption connected to his family fired. Dems scream it's unfair to investigate corruption of one of their own.

                    So much for the justice system. But oddly enough, every time the Dems throw accusations and lawsuits Trump's way, his popularity seems to surge. Many people can see the lawfare for what it is, and don't like it. Plus there's other risks of blowback. Anyone who was a reader of Private Eye would be familiar with Trump's business dealings because they'd been writing about it long before Trump moved into politics. NYC real-estate has long been a shark infested cess pit, as anyone who's watched Louis Rossman or just done business there will know.

                    There's videos of him looking for a new shop and discovering the tricks realtors use with floor space calcualtions. If it's got a suspended floor, it's a duplex, add drop ceilings and it's a triplex. Valuations are nothing new and were behind the last banking 'crisis', and NYC's current CRE challenges. Lots of vacant properties, crazy rents, but if the rents are dropped to realistic rates, it'll trigger a lot of defaults. That's just business though and between the contracting parties who should be doing their due diligence. But common in CRE, so doesn't really explain why one company is getting special treatment.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Hey Elon

                      Thank-you for providing a service to our fellow Americans by reminding them that brain-dead MAGA sheep are not just limited to their country.

                      How anyone can see the fraud and crimes that Trump has committed and then blame them on a Democrat plot is mind-boggling.

                      Your guy is already getting special favours. Anyone else who posted death threats against witnesses would have been in jail a long time ago.

                      Open your eyes, it's embarrassing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0YKwsJX14U

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Hey Elon

                  Hunter Biden isn't a politician, idiot.

                  Yes, I'm sure aerogems wants to make America great again. They are also not dumb enough to believe trump can do that just because he says so.

                  Just like dumb brexiteers like you who believed all the bullshit the right-wing grifters spounted.

                  When are the NHS and the devolved countries going to get all this extra money, by the way?

                  Keep searching those unicorns.

        2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Hey Elon

          The lawsuits are still ongoing. When will you MAGA types realise you're supporting a list, cheat, and conman?

          But such is politics. What's that other chap's name again? Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.. Will accept all forms of payment, cash, gold, cars.. Oh yeh, the Dem's own Bob Menendez..

          He's even been stopped from running businesses in New York state due to corruption. I suppose that's all the felt of lefties and the EU too?

          Well, that's New York for you. The prosecutors are sure to get book deals and appearence fees out of that one. Meanwhile, over in Russia, Dems were outraged! outraged I tell you when Russia prosecuted Putin's chief opponent, Navalny on fraud and corruption charges. Locking up your political opponents is something a 3rd world dictatorship would do, not a free and fair democracy like the US. And of course it's an absolute disgrace that there's an investigation into corruption allegations against Honest Joe.

          1. aerogems Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Hey Elon

            Just keep digging that hole. Demonstrate that you have no concept of the American legal system and still pretend like you're not a paid troll. Great strategy!

      2. Casca Silver badge

        Re: Hey Elon

        MAGA and russian defender. Busy life...

        1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

          Re: Hey Elon

          MAGA and russian defender.

          Nah, just a fan of democracy, justice and the general rule of law. Alien concepts to you I guess..

          1. druck Silver badge

            Re: Hey Elon

            I must have missed which general rule of law the Russians were applying to the civilians of Bucha.

      3. aerogems Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Hey Elon

        Just... no. Everything you just said is 100% pure unadulterated Grade A prime bullshit. Each and every one of those points has been debunked multiple times in pretty much every possible way. But hey, never let silly things like facts get in the way of a good emotionally satisfying conspiracy theory, amirite? Seriously, expand your "news" diet beyond just Fox News.

      4. disgruntled yank

        Re: Hey Elon

        Trump was impeached (the first time) for saying making US military aid a quid pro quo, the quo being dirt on the Bidens.

  4. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Kneejerk canned response

    Anytime you hear/see the statement "....is something we take very seriously", you know you're being diddled. A "robust and growing team focused on ...." is a less used programmed response.

    I'm skeptical about all of the returning advertising customers. Perhaps there are companies advertising on X once again, but that doesn't mean their spend is what it was with Twitter.

    I still see plenty of "new stories" that are nothing more than a repost of Xits or a bunch strung together with plenty of them under the "elon musk" banner. The guy seems to do nothing but spend time on the site posting nonsense.

    Speaking of Mr. Free Speech Absolutist, SpaceX has entered into a contract for "Starsheild", a deal with the US government to use Starlink for military comms. It wasn't so long ago (weeks) that Elon shut off Ukraine for using Starlink for military uses (coordinating attacks). Of course Ukraine has been getting free and subsidized service and the US government is likely going to be buying Elon a couple of new Gulfstream jets loaded with pallets of cash, so big difference.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: Kneejerk canned response

      The "something we take very seriously" line is, as you say, meaningless in itself, but in context it does have value. It's a license to journalists to follow up the issue and ask more questions another day.

      Most public figures are happy to give out such licenses, because they know (a) journalists are lazy and there's a good chance they won't bother, and relatedly (b) the public attention span will have forgotten all about it by tomorrow, so any attempt to follow up will have to start with a recap, meaning most readers will have switched off before they get to the new bit.

  5. Tron Silver badge

    Well...

    Not sure why they bother with election misinformation reporting. You know that Republicans will just report every pro Democrat post, and Democrats will report every pro Republican post. So what's the point? The real misinformation comes from the masters of it - the politicians themselves. Social media is getting it in the neck simply because it cannot be controlled by politicians. Not a day goes by when the easier-to-control BBC (or mogul-owned newspapers), which are still blaming Putin and Covid for the state of the UK, rather than Brexit, comes up with yet another social media scare story.

    It's not just social media of course, The BBC carries scare stories about tech more frequently than a Luddite evangelist. Perhaps the parents of the UK should listen and ban their kids from getting involved in tech in any way. No coding, no hardware building, no apps. And keep them away from smartphones. After all, technology empowers the individual at the expense of the state, and so it follows that everyone who can write code - or even anyone who owns a computer and has the ability to broadcast their views with it online, is a potential enemy of the state. You wouldn't want your kids getting mixed up in that, would you? Humanities only at uni or government officials may one day be knocking on your door at 3am.

    The internet is just another media, and social media is the most democratic one of all. It allows ordinary people to have their say. If you dislike that, because you disagree with what they say, and want them silenced, maybe you should apply for membership of your nearest Communist or Fascist party. Because that is what they do best. You would fit in well. Ah. remember when we used to be proud of democracy? The old days, eh? Now our governments are racing to emulate China and turn the net into a system of universal surveillance in the name of public safety. Big Brother, keeping us safe from our own acts of thoughtcrime.

    Social media permits a diversity of voices - like a group of people in a pub. If you don't like what they are saying, ignore them or offer an alternative point of view. Censorship is a slippery slope, favoured by corrupt politicians. Super-Injunctions and D-notices. That sort of thing. If you support it now, one day, it will be used against you or more likely your kids.

    1. Mark Exclamation

      Re: Well...

      Nice try. The problem with social media is that it is full of opinions that contradict established fact, and the mindless morons choose to believe the opinions over said facts. The "influencers" are nothing more than idiots but are gaining a huge amount of, yeah, influence. This is where society is heading, and it is a very dark place.

    2. ThatOne Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Well...

      Social media is the noise-to-signal ratio pushed to 11: Pure noise.

  6. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Coat

    Ex CEO of X

    Won't be too long now when Yaccarino becomes Ex CEO of X

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Ex CEO of X

      X o X

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Ex CEO of X

      I continue to believe that's her plan. Taking the Twitter job was a way to raise her profile. There's no penalty for being CEO of a failing or failed organization; boards of other companies will be glad to hire you on. What they want to see is that you were "courageous" enough to "make hard decisions" (lay workers off, refuse to pay bills, etc) in a "difficult environment" (company that you and/or your predecessors fucked over).

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Ex CEO of X

        May be Musk should tap Baroness Harding of Talk Talk fame next. Or, a master of the craft, Stephen "burning platforms/Hello There" Elop? That could be the "Elon and Elop show"

  7. 45RPM Silver badge

    Seems to me that it’s badly out of control and, given the influence that the platform has over the hard of thinking, it should probably be shut down.

    Remember Popper Paradox. To protect freedom of speech it is sometimes necessary to limit it.

    1. Catkin Silver badge

      I'm always amazed by the number of people who find less than 200 words difficult to read but think they're qualified to demand oppressive action (with a double helping of irony for the 'hard of thinking' remark). If you wish to advocate for white glove totalitarianism, be my guest (though I will likely disagree with you) but please don't falsely invoke Popper because you're too cowardly to stand up independently for your intolerance.

      Like a warped Dunning–Kruger, Popper would more likely regard them as the intolerants he was referring to than the tolerants reserving the right to intolerance.

      1. 45RPM Silver badge

        By that argument, you’re happy for prejudice of all kinds to be spread via social media in the name of free speech, or for lies to be propagated which might adversely impact the outcome of an election. By ‘adversely impact’ I don’t mean that the elected party is one that I disagree with, I’m fine with that - that’s democracy - but an election or referendum should not be won under a cloak of lies. People must always be clear about what they’re voting for - I wouldn’t want to buy a bottle of ketchup and discover that it’s actually a bottle of red paint.

        If a social media platform isn’t prepared to police speech, shutting down prejudice and stopping false advertising then it’s no kind of free speech at all. And that’s exactly what Popper was talking about.

        1. Catkin Silver badge

          I don't disagree with your aspirations but, rather, I disagree with the practicalities necessary to achieve them. Similarly, I would hope for a world where every criminal is prosecuted but, as we are all fallible, I prefer a legal system that has a high bar (beyond all reasonable doubt) to clear for criminal sanctions to be handed down.

          Truth is tricky and, putting aside the misuse of the same systems to opaquely deceive, demanding objective truth as a standard for communication either silences the overwhelming majority of speech that currently takes place or results in a Star Chamber with no more adherence to truth than what came before.

          As for prejudice, Popper was quite clear that his proposed measures are for when the intolerant proscribe discussion. If they're shouting their nonsense and you're able to shout back then they clearly haven't proscribed it.

          1. 45RPM Silver badge

            If you wait until they’ve actually proscribed it then you’ve left it too late.

            But you make a very good point about the requirement for a bar that needs to be passed before the content is deemed of danger and needs to be removed.

            Perhaps what is required is for social media platforms to be legally required to employ professional moderators, and for those moderators to have legal training. I can still see objections - not least what constitutes a social media platform? Would The Register, through its forums, fit the requirement? Is it a matter of reach? Would Truth Social therefore not be required to be moderated (too small). It’s a minefield.

            1. Catkin Silver badge

              I have great difficulty imagining that a reasonable test could be devised, based upon open discussion, which could reliably predict when a group or individual is going to abandon discussion in favour of violence. Certainly, even if such a test were devised and implemented, it would be impossible to audit because it would be policing pre-crime (through the creation of thought crime). In other words, it's not a goal I disagree with, I just again disagree that it's reachable in an agreeable fashion (i.e. a monkey paw). That said, I would be interested to read any ideas you or others might have about how that determination could be made.

              For professional moderators, I would have concerns that this would preserve the societal status quo. Remember that, well within living memory, ideas that the majority today find offensive were not just widely accepted but enshrined in law (e.g. homosexuality being morally wrong).

              1. 45RPM Silver badge

                I’ll settle for moderating what is demonstrably false, and leave what is morally abhorrent alone. For example, a claim that a political party is a deep state shill, or that vaccines are an attempt at controlling the population, or that the NHS will be funded by x many billions because of money saved by Brexit, or that anthropogenic climate change is a hoax are examples of things which should be moderated (because they’re demonstrably false).

                On the other hand (and speaking as a cyclist, and hence I can get away with this example without fear of insulting a group to which I don’t belong), if a political party made the manifesto promise to ban cycling and lock up those ‘perverts’ who continue to practice their sport I wouldn’t propose moderating that - if that’s their honest opinion then they should be free to say it (and let people know exactly what they stand for)

                1. Catkin Silver badge

                  Personally, I'd rather those things were handled by individual decisions on the part of the website owners and by individuals being free to speak out against them than by a nationally (or internationally) set policy. My concern is that it places too much power in the hands of the government.

                  Imagine Nixon being able to quash Watergate. Remember that, for months on end, this was an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory and it was only subsequent investigations in response to published allegations that led to hard evidence.

  8. trevorde Silver badge

    Previously at Xitter

    [Yacc] You're hired!

    [Elon] You're fired!

    [Election integrity team] WTF?

  9. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    That took longer than I thought it would

    But now, she has contradicted the Great Leader.

    Her days are numbered.

  10. Winkypop Silver badge
    Pirate

    Wendy, I’m home!

    I think of the Twitter (X) headquarters like the Overlook Hotel.

    Jack Nicholson roaming the halls with a fire axe…

    1. Bebu Silver badge
      Windows

      Re: Wendy, I’m home!

      《I think of the Twitter (X) headquarters like the Overlook Hotel.Jack Nicholson roaming the halls with a fire axe…》

      Same actor different movie. Thinking "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" :)

      At least one of the afflicted in the Twitter Cuckoo Nest needs a daily dose of ECT.

  11. snowpages
    Headmaster

    Recurring, not reOccurring please

    Thanks

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Recurring, not reOccurring please

      "snowpages" is correct.

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