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Due to the upheavals since the takeover by Elon Musk, more and more users are turning their backs on the short message service X, according to a survey. More than a third of respondents in Germany spend less time on the platform, formerly known as Twitter, than about a year ago, according to a representative study published on Friday on behalf of the digital association Bitkom. Almost a fifth of active users have even stopped their activities completely.

"The increase in fake news and hate speech and the widespread abandonment of content moderation on Twitter/X is having an increasingly deterrent effect on users," said Bitkom CEO Bernhard Rohleder. "Today, more than ever, online platforms need trained moderators who can quickly delete reported illegal or irregular content." According to statistics from the EU Commission, the Alphabet subsidiary Google employs the most so-called content moderators in Europe, a total of just under 17,000. X, on the other hand, has less than 3000.

More than half of those surveyed believe that misinformation and hate speech on X have increased in recent months, the study added. Therefore, a third want to delete their profile on the short message service in the future. Another eleven percent toyed with the idea. Several federal agencies had announced in recent months that they were putting their commitment to X to the test.

The self-proclaimed "free speech absolutist" and billionaire Musk had relaxed the rules for content moderation at X. In addition, many employees in this sector fell victim to the wave of layoffs at the San Francisco-based company. This has already led to proceedings for the short message service for disregarding stricter European digital laws.