X Expands Community Notes to India Ahead of Upcoming General Election

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X (formerly Twitter) has announced another expansion of its Community Notes crowd-sourced fact-checking program, with users in India now able to sign-up to contribute notes in the app.

Which is an important update, given that India is holding its general election in June, and the campaign around such is set to include various controversial debates, with X posts at the center of many such discussions.

India is X’s third biggest region by users, with over 26 million people in the nation regularly turning to the app for news updates. The platform has also long been a critical connector for more controversial discussion, which has led the Indian Government to call on the company to ban certain users and conversations, in order to maintain order, and quell dissent.

In this sense, India presents a difficult challenge for Elon Musk’s X project, not only because of the authoritarian measures taken by the Indian Government in regards to what Indian users can and cannot say in social apps, but also because Musk’s other business, Tesla, is seeking to build upon its business opportunities in the nation.

Both Twitter and X have already clashed with the Indian Government over takedown requests, with the Modi regime calling on the company, at various times, to remove posts that it views as incendiary, and sparking unrest.

Earlier this year, the Indian Government issued a new order for X to ban users that it had identified as “prompting civil disobedience” with their posts. X complied, but also noted that it disagreed with the request, and vowed to continue to challenge the Indian Government’s bans through whatever legal means available.

Last year, X was also forced to remove a BBC documentary that was critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after it was banned in the nation. Many critics of X used this as an example of the platform’s inability to uphold its own free speech ethos in the face of government pressure.  

X, however, has always maintained that it’ll defend free speech within the realms of the law in each nation. And with the Indian Government dictating those rules, it is still aligning with this approach.

But again, given Musk’s business interests, it will be interesting to see how X continues to address such, as opposing Indian authorities on one front could make things more complicated on the other.

That hasn’t seemingly become a major point of contention as yet, and it might not ever emerge as a significant challenge.

But in an election year, with the ruling government facing opposition on several fronts, things could come to a head, and Community Notes is unlikely to save Musk and Co. from expanded requests for censorship.