Elon Musk has claimed his community notes system on X – formerly Twitter – has been “gamed by state actors” after one of his own posts was fact-checked.
The billionaire has promoted the community-based fact-checking system as his flagship policy to tackle disinformation on the social media platform since his $44bn (£38bn) takeover in October last year.
But on Sunday, one of his own posts was marked with a community note, after he commented on the detention of US YouTuber Gonzalo Lira in Ukraine.
Lira, a critic of Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government, has been detained amid accusations of breaching a Ukrainian law which makes justifying or denying Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine illegal.
He is scheduled to appear in court on those charges this week.
Musk wrote: “What is the status of this American journalist, Joe Biden?”
But a community note later appeared on the post, saying: “Lira is actually a YouTuber.
“He denied the Bucha massacre and other RU attacks against civilians, exposed the location of Western journalists and Ukrainian soldiers, including their faces, among other crimes.”
Musk, in response to his own post, then claimed the community note had been “gamed by state actors”.
He wrote: “Interesting. This Note is being gamed by state actors. Will be helpful in figuring out who they are.
“Thanks for jumping in the honey pot, guys.”
However, that post was also subjected to its own note, which said: “There are criteria that Community Notes contributors must meet to be approved which are supposed to prevent manipulation.”
Previously known as Birdwatch, the community notes programme was initially launched in 2021 under the platform’s previous owners.
It involves contributors who rate – and eventually write – notes on posts which are agreed upon by the community before they are made public.
Posts that are marked with a community note are also stopped for generating revenue.
Musk has made it front and centre of his plans for tackling disinformation and has described it as a “game changer for combating wrong information”.