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X launches support for publishing community notes ahead of Indian elections

Weeks ahead of India’s national election, Elon Musk’s X said it was rolling out support for publishing Community Notes, the company’s crowdsourced fact-checking initiative.

The first contributors from India will start publishing notes today, and more contributors will be accepted over time, the company said. Contributors often post more context to debunk myths or add more information for better context. These submissions are then scored and displayed to users based on their usefulness and accuracy.

Musk renamed the old Birdwatch project Community Notes when he took over the company in 2022. In December 2022, the social network launched a feature that lets people view community notes related to posts globally, but users in only a few countries can post these notes.

Over time, the company allowed members from different countries to start posting community notes to better provide local context. With the latest launch, the program has contributors in 69 countries.

Last year, the company also launched community annotations for images and videos.

Considering the size of the market, India is a major missing market for this feature. With just weeks left until national elections, platforms are working to reduce election-related misinformation. However, X is yet to make any concrete announcements regarding its efforts for India’s elections.

Sometimes, community comments fail to control the spread of misinformation despite contributors adding context to their posts. The plan will face severe tests in India’s complex multilingual political landscape.

Last year, the company re-allowed political advertising on the platform, which had been banned by previous management.

Twitter/X has had a tough time in the Indian market, especially its legal battle with the government ordering the platform to block certain posts. Earlier this year, X detained a number of accounts and posts related to farmers’ protests in India on orders from authorities. At the time, the company reiterated that a writ of appeal against the lockdown order was still pending in court.

Last year, Musk said in an interview with the BBC that India’s social media rules are quite strict and the company “cannot go beyond the country’s laws.”

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