This isn't Pandora's box the billionaire has opened, it's much worse. Since October 2022, the date of Twitter's takeover, false information, deep fakes created using artificial intelligence, bot accounts, disinformation and propaganda campaigns, violent, pornographic and pornographic images, and theories about the world's most dangerous media have become increasingly widespread. The platform is rife with racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic attacks and hate speech of all kinds.

Because, let's face it, this "information" is far more profitable for the networks. Shocking, brutal, crude, scurrilous, malicious, feeding on the lowest of human feelings, it's shared faster, it's more viral. By advocating the defense of freedom of expression (an honorable goal), Elon Musk has unleashed the worst of humanity. And more often than not, anonymously.

Disinformation skillfully orchestrated by Musk himself

Oh, he's not the only one, you might say. And you'd be right. In the realm of the indecent, Telegram and 4chan, which are much less regulated because they are more restricted, have nothing to envy the (former) bluebird network. But X is the most resounding, in terms of its power and distribution across the planet, and because it hosts all these horrors, alongside the official accounts of governments, politicians, celebrities, respectable institutions, scientists and teenagers.

It's also the most resounding because it's the least moderate of the major networks. Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and TikTok have equipped themselves with better tools and bigger budgets to curb this type of content on their pages, with varying degrees of success, but more than X. And Elon seems to enjoy it: throughout 2023, he has sometimes endorsed erroneous theories, sometimes decided to reinstate gravelly accounts previously banned, sometimes relayed the worst rhetoric himself. And his choices even fuel the trend: according to Australia's Internet regulator, at least 1,215 X employees responsible for combating abusive content have been laid off since Musk bought the network. Several contracts with dedicated service providers have been terminated, and the number of employees dedicated to respecting human rights has dwindled.

He took the decision in 2023 to remove Twitter from the European Union's code of good practice against online disinformation. Elon Musk is regularly called to account by the justice system: a European investigation, a call to order or conviction in France, a fine in Australia, without these procedures or decisions proving their effectiveness.

Misinformation, humanity's greatest risk over the next two years

But none of this is trivial. Firstly, because we are not all equal when it comes to fake news. Secondly, because 2024 will be punctuated by major national elections, and misinformation will be a serious factor in electoral processes. So much so that, at the Davos Forum in January, the world's powerful did not rank armed conflict or global warming among the greatest challenges facing us this year, but disinformation.

And if all that weren't enough, we now have to be wary of false images created by generative AI tools. Several famous people - singer Taylor Swift being the latest to pay the price - have had their images hijacked to create fake content - pornographic in particular - which is spreading across the web like wild fire. And be warned, you're not yet ready for fake sounds, synthesized and then manipulated voices, and fake speeches created from scratch on the computer.

While OpenAI, ChatGPT's parent company, has announced its intention to develop AI tools to combat misinformation, let's bet that the Internet's malicious geniuses will quickly find a way around these obstacles to shower us with fakes that seem truer than life. And let's bet that the legislative tools to protect us from this will arrive late, and will already be outdated by the time they are applied.