X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, is hiring for its safety and elections teams ahead of the 2024 US presidential election and will again allow political ads for the first time since 2019.
“We’re currently expanding our safety and elections teams to focus on combating manipulation, surfacing inauthentic accounts and closely monitoring the platform for emerging threats,” the company said in a blog post Tuesday, in which it also laid out its approach to political discourse and preventing voter manipulation as campaign season ramps up.
The announcement comes after months of changes to the platform and how it handles content moderation after Elon Musk took over the company last fall. Shortly after his takeover, Musk laid off huge swaths of the company’s staff, including many employees responsible for safety, platform manipulation and election policy. (Musk later boasted about having cut roughly 80% of the company’s staff.)
It also follows criticism by Musk about how the platform’s previous leadership handled political discourse, including claims of censorship.
According to X’s Tuesday blog post, the platform will continue to apply its civic integrity policy — which prohibits the use of the platform for “manipulating or interfering in elections,” including posting content that could mislead people about how, when or where to participate in civic processes such as voting — for a “limited period of time before and during an election.”
“We’re updating this policy to make sure we strike the right balance between tackling the most harmful types of content—those that could intimidate or deceive people into surrendering their right to participate in a civic process—and not censoring political debate,” X said. The platform will add public labels to posts that violate the civic integrity policy and let users know when reach has been restricted on such content.
The practices laid out in X’s Tuesday post are not all that different from how the platform handled misinformation related to elections under its previous leadership. Ahead of the 2022 midterms, the platform said it would label and demote, for example, false claims about how to cast a ballot or the outcomes of a race.
X added that it is following through on a commitment to allow expanded political advertising. The company began taking steps in that direction in January, when it relaxed a ban on issue advertising and promised that further changes to political ads would be coming. Twitter initially implemented restrictions on political and issue advertising in 2019 amid concerns that politicians could seek to target users with false or misleading information.
On Tuesday, X said promoted political posts would again be allowed and that the ads would be subject to certain policies.
“This will include prohibiting the promotion of false or misleading content,” X said in the blog post, “including false or misleading information intended to undermine public confidence in an election, while seeking to preserve free and open political discourse.”
The blog post added that X will create a “global advertising transparency center” that will allow users to review political ads — a capability that is required under Europe’s new Digital Services Act, a law that X and other very large tech platforms were expected to comply with as of last week.