X hits back at NBC News for ‘pro-Nazi’ hit piece

"Gotcha articles are unhelpful and do not benefit anyone involved."

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

X slammed NBC News for publishing a "gotcha article" on Tuesday claiming that at least 150 paid subscriber accounts on X "and thousands of unpaid accounts have posted or amplified pro-Nazi content on X in recent months, often in apparent violation of X’s rules." 

"Gotcha articles are unhelpful and do not benefit anyone involved. This article lacks comprehensive research, investigation, and transparency. X is committed to identifying and addressing harmful content, enforcing its rules, and taking appropriate action against content and accounts that violate our policies," wrote Joe Benarroch, an X business operations executive. 

"The NBC writer mentions 150 accounts but only provided information to X on 13 accounts (of which we acted on) thus withholding the majority of the content for proper review. This hinders X's ability to evaluate and take action on the remaining accounts. Plus, the additional claims about advertisements lack evidence, screenshots, or any form of substantiation," he added. 

Benarroch said that if NBC "wants to actually help the community, it should disclose the full extent of the research that underpins this article," adding that "it’s more beneficial for users if NBC first reports the situation to X beforehand for a thorough assessment." 

"For its readers and the entire X community, NBC News must ensure its coverage is accurate, transparent, and based on thorough research and investigation," he concluded. 

The NBC report states that X is "bringing Nazi sympathizers in from the dark corners of the internet to a massive platform where they can pay to amplify their content." 

NBC stated that it conducted its "review" one week in late March, and that the content was found by browsing X, scrolling through replies, and clicking on user profiles. 

"By failing to act against many pro-Nazi accounts, X continues to earn income from their activity in at least two ways: by collecting monthly subscription fees from those posting pro-Nazi content and by running advertisements on those accounts or adjacent to the pro-Nazi content," NBC News reported. 

The outlet added that advertisements were running on 74 of the 150 premium accounts found, either on their profiles or in replies. 

The report added, "NBC News sought comment on its findings from X. A representative for X asked for examples, and NBC News provided 13 examples of accounts posting pro-Nazi content. Hours later, X had put labels on some of the examples, all of which remained online." 

Elon Musk launched a lawsuit against Media Matters in November over a report that was used to "manipulate the public and advertisers," with an account being curated and the feed being "repeatedly refreshed their timelines to find a rare instance of ads serving next to the content they chose to follow." These advertisements, Media Matters said, showed next to content with "white nationalist hashtags." 

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