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X/Twitter allows people to search ‘Taylor Swift’ after explicit image outrage

X/Twitter allows people to search ‘Taylor Swift’ after explicit image outrage

X, formerly known as Twitter, will once again allow people to search for Taylor Swift.

The company had rushed to block the search after fake, sexually-explicit images were widely distributed on its social network. In recent days, users would only see error messages if they searched for the pop singer’s name, in what appeared to be a hasty attempt to limit the spread of the images.

It was just the latest controversy over content moderation on the site. X has faced consistent criticisms over the problematic nature of some of the content available on its social network since Elon Musk bought it at the end of 2022.

Mr Musk fired many of the company’s staff, which is believed to include part of the large teams previously responsible for identifying and removing dangerous and harmful content.

X said that the the ability to search for Taylor Swift has been reactivated and the social media platform “will continue to be vigilant for any attempt to spread this content and will remove it if we find it,” Joe Benarroch, head of business operations at X, said in a statement on Monday

Searches for Taylor Swift‘s name on Sunday afternoon on the social media platform formerly known as Twitter yielded the error message, “Something went wrong. Try reloading.” X had called the measure a temporary action done with “abundance of caution.”

One image of Swift, who was named Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” in 2023, shared on X was viewed 47 million times before the account was suspended, according to a New York Times report.

The ban on searches came after White House weighed in on Friday, calling the fake images “alarming” and highlighting that social media companies have a responsibility to prevent the spread of such misinformation.

Since billionaire Elon Musk acquired Twitter in 2022, he has faced criticism for his own controversial posts, prompting many advertisers on the platform to pull back spending out of fear of being associated with harmful content.

Additional reporting by Reuters