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Popular X user asks Elon Musk why no ‘community notes’ for Indians, gets stamped with wrong ‘community note’ to his post. Read how Indians are being denied a voice on X

Community Note attached to the post was misleading. The reason is, that though Indians have been allowed to sign up for Community Notes, so far their profiles have not been approved.

On 12th March, a popular X user who goes by the handle ‘theskindoctor13’, questioned Elon Musk why Indians do not have access to the Community Notes. Instead of getting a valid reason, his post got slapped with a misleading Community Note that said his post was false and Indians could sign up to become Community Notes contributors.

In a post, The Skin Doctor wrote, “Hey Elon Musk, Why haven’t Indians been given access to community notes yet? We are your third-largest market, and misinformation against us is at an all-time high on Global X. Even the smallest of countries have access to community notes, but not India. What’s wrong with India?”

A community note appeared on his post that read, “This is false. Anyone using X can sign up to become a community notes contributor, including Indians!” There was a link in the note that talked about how to sign up for it.

Source: X

Quoting The Skin Doctor, Rahul Raushan said, “This is “fact-checkers” level Elon Musk. Obviously Indians can sign up for Community Notes, but their status won’t get activated as Indian mobile networks don’t seem to be there in list of ‘eligible carriers’. My own sign-up application is pending for months. Plus the user here mentioned ‘Indians’ in the geographical sense, not in citizenship sense.” (sic)

Pooja Sangwan expressed her dismay over the waiting period for approval for Community Notes. She wrote, “To the community note contributor.. people signed up for community notes since May 2023 not a single Indian account received a notification or update since then. Why there are no Indian community note contributors for Indian X till now? Community Notes please tell.” (sic)

X user Wokeflix shared a screenshot showing that his phone number was not among the trusted phone carriers thus he was unable to signup. He wrote, “This is where the buck stops” and quoted Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar in the post.

X user Wokeflix shared a screenshot showing that his phone number was not among the trusted phone carriers thus he was unable to sign up. He wrote, “This is where the buck stops” and quoted Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar in the post.

However, the Community Note attached to the post was misleading. The reason is, that though Indians have been allowed to sign up for Community Notes, so far their profiles have not been approved. It has been almost a year since the Indians started signing up for the feature. If they try to check the status or reapply, the message reads, “We’ll send you a notification as soon as your account has been activated. Stay up to date by following @CommunityNotes.”

Source: X

Simultaneously, many Indians could not register to Community Notes because their mobile number was not “linked to a trusted carrier”. On one hand, X claims that anyone can register to Community Notes and contribute to making X a better place with reliable information and on the other hand it has restricted one of the largest userbases from writing Community Notes.

Notably, India faced a targeted attack on X with trolls and propagandists posting misleading and derogatory content about the country. Several posts over the week targeted India over food safety, women’s safety, crime and corruption. The X algorithm for some reason boosted such posts and there was no Indian user base in the Community Notes to counter such attacks. Indians found a way to hijack the algorithm and used phrases like “OMG! What’s wrong with India” to show how much India has progressed and how other countries also face problems, and in most cases, those problems are much severe compared to India. However, it is not going to work every time. If X wants to remain an unbiased platform, it has to allow Indians to contribute to Community Notes and not restrict them just to the signup phase.

When the feature launched in December 2022, OpIndia listed some of the problems with the feature. For example, only notes rated helpful by people from diverse perspectives appear on the posts. Secondly, a person can contribute to Community Notes only if there has been no recent notice of X rule violation. However, with online attacks on each other, users often find themselves on the wrong side of the X rules. Furthermore, the problem of “trusted phone carriers” has been persistent since the beginning and it is not restricted to India but to other countries as well. 

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Anurag
Anurag
B.Sc. Multimedia, a journalist by profession.

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