Australian broadcaster cuts presence on platform formerly called Twitter

ABC has culled all but four of its accounts on X, citing trust issues and a need to move to where audiences are.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor
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Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has culled all but four of its accounts on X, formerly known as Twitter, citing trust issues and a need to move to where its audiences are. 

The national broadcaster said Wednesday it had further reduced its presence on X, after shutting three accounts earlier this year as a trial. The move would allow the government-funded media organization to prioritize its resources "where our audiences are", it said. 

Also: The best Twitter/X alternatives right now

It pointed to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok as key platforms on which the majority of its social media audience resided. Specifically, TikTok is expected to hold the strongest audience growth for the Australian broadcaster over the next four years. 

ABC also cited concerns over increasingly prevalent "toxic interactions" on X and the social media platform's moves to cut its trust and safety teams. In addition, the introduction of charges had made the platform more costly to use, it said. 

ABC's news director Justin Stevens said it currently is trialing Meta's X rival, Threads, and is mulling growing its presence on the new platform. 

Also: How to join and use Meta's Twitter rival Threads

The broadcaster's shuttered accounts on X will have pinned posts notifying users of alternative accounts they can access relevant content.

The four accounts ABC has retained on X, for now, includes its news and sports channels, as well as ABC Chinese, which is targeted at Chinese-speaking communities on the social media platform. 

Australia's online safety regulator eSafety in June gave then-Twitter legal notice to explain how it was dealing with online hate. The social media platform was the main source of complaints over the past year, accounting for one in three sent to eSafety.

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant noted a spike in reported online abuse on Twitter since Elon Musk took control of the company last October, which she said coincided with cuts to the company's global workforce that included its trust and safety teams. Twitter also removed its public policy presence in Australia. 

Also: 5 reasons to try Twitter rival Bluesky

"Twitter appears to have dropped the ball on tackling hate," Inman Grant said. "We need accountability from these platforms and action to protect their users. You cannot have accountability without transparency and that's what legal notices like this one [issued by eSafety] are designed to achieve." 

eSafety in February served legal notices to several social media platforms, including Google, TikTok, Twitch, and Discord, seeking answers on the steps each was taking to address child sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual extortion, and the promotion of harmful content by its algorithms.

Continuing violations could lead to daily fines of up to AU$700,000 ($474,670). 

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