X lifts ban on Taylor Swift searches after spread of fake explicit images

By Reuters   January 29, 2024 | 10:15 pm PT
X lifts ban on Taylor Swift searches after spread of fake explicit images
Taylor Swift poses on the red carpet for the 2022 MTV Europe Music Awards (EMAs) at the PSD Bank Dome in Duesseldorf, Germany, Nov. 13, 2022. Photo by Reuters
Social-media company X lifted the ban on searches for Taylor Swift Monday evening, after blocking users from searching for her following the spread of fake sexually-explicit images of the pop singer on the social media site last week.

The search 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.

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