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Updated January 29th, 2024 at 12:17 IST

Searches for Taylor Swift Blocked on X After Inappropriate Content Circulates

CEO Linda Yaccarino articulated X's stance, stating the platform adheres to an approach called "freedom of speech, not reach."

Digital Desk
Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift | Image:Taylor Swift
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In response to the circulation of sexually explicit AI-generated images of Taylor Swift on the platform, X has taken swift measures to block searches for the pop icon. X, formerly known as Twitter, has faced scrutiny over its content moderation policies since the 2022 Elon Musk-led takeover. While it remains unclear if X has implemented such blocking actions in the past, the current move emphasizes the platform's commitment to addressing potentially harmful content.

CEO Linda Yaccarino articulated X's stance, stating the platform adheres to an approach called "freedom of speech, not reach." This policy signifies a zero-tolerance stance towards illegal content, while allowing posts that, though "lawful, but awful," won't be banned. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre expressed concern on Friday, labeling the fake images as "alarming" after garnering millions of views. She urged social media companies to take decisive action against "the spread of misinformation and nonconsensual, intimate imagery of real people."

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Here is what you need to know

As of 11:30 pm Sunday ET, searches for Taylor Swift's name were met with the message "Something went wrong. Try reloading," indicating the temporary blocking action taken by X. However, attempts to tweak search terms or use Swift's full name in quotes still yielded results.

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According to a report from Axios, Joe Benarroch, head of business operations at X, emphasized that the decision to block searches was a "temporary action" done with an "abundance of caution" as the platform prioritizes safety on this particular issue.

The move by X reflects a broader industry conversation about balancing freedom of speech with the responsibility to protect individuals from harmful and nonconsensual content. The incident underscores the challenges faced by social media platforms in navigating the fine line between allowing diverse voices and ensuring a safe online environment.

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Published January 29th, 2024 at 12:17 IST

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