German anti-racism agency quits X amid Israel-Hamas disinformation wave

Germany’s federal anti-discrimination agency (FADA) said Wednesday it was quitting X, formerly known as Twitter, due to an “enormous rise” in hate speech. 

“Due to the enormous rise in anti-trans and queer rhetoric, racism, misogyny, and antisemitism, we no longer believe X is an acceptable environment for the profile of a public body,” said the government agency on Wednesday, in its final post on the increasingly controversial social network.

FADA also took aim at X’s new boss, Elon Musk, saying that hateful comments and disinformation had “increased particularly” since the Tesla tycoon took over the platform last year.

The agency’s commissioner, Ferda Ataman, said other state agencies and government ministries should ask themselves whether it made sense to remain on a platform that has “become a disinformation network.”

Germany’s foreign, economy, and finance ministries, as well as the government, still maintain profiles on X, though Economy Minister Robert Habeck has not had a presence there since 2019.

Rise in disinformation

FADA’s call to counter disinformation and hate speech on X was echoed by digital minister Volker Wissing. He complained in a post about the increase in anti-Semitic, hate-inciting posts, especially since the Hamas militant group launched its surprise terrorist attack on Israel on Saturday morning. 

These include doctored images, misleading claims, and mislabeled videos that make it difficult for anyone using the platform to separate the truth of the conflict from reality. 

In an attempt to crack down on this surge of disinformation, the EU has sent letters to both X and Meta — which owns Facebook and Instagram — demanding they remove illegal content from their platforms, or risk facing severe legal penalties.

In letters to Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, EU industry chief Thierry Breton said Wednesday their companies had 24 hours to inform the Commission how they were stopping harmful content on their platforms.

As of this morning, X’s chief executive Linda Yaccarino said the platform has removed hundreds of Hamas-affiliated accounts and taken action to remove or label tens of thousands of pieces of content since the militant group’s attack on Israel.

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