The European Union today began an investigation into X Corp., the company formerly known as Twitter Inc., over possible disinformation on the platform regarding Hamas’ attack on Israel and the subsequent Israeli air assault on Gaza.
Earlier this week, the EU’s European commissioner for the internal market, Thierry Breton, sent a letter to X’s owner, Elon Musk, warning that the platform may have transgressed the EU’s fairly new Digital Services Act, or DSA – potentially costly legislation designed to make “very large online platforms” responsible for what appears on their services.
A day later, Breton sent a similar letter to Meta Platforms Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, although the wording was somewhat softer. It seems now the Chinese-owned social media giant TikTok has also been issued a screed regarding possible “disinformation” on its platform that breaches DSA rules. The law now requires not just transparency and the removal of such content, but the latter done proactively.
All companies were told they had 24 hours to respond to show they had complied with DSA policy. Musk’s initial response was to ask the EU for proof after Breton said he’d received information about doctored content and war content not related to the current conflict being shared on X. Later, X Chief Executive Linda Yaccarino said the company had either removed or labeled “tens of thousands” of Israel-Hamas War posts.
“X is committed to serving the public conversation, especially in critical moments like this, and understands the importance of addressing any illegal content that may be disseminated through the platform,” she said in a letter to Breton. “There is no place on X for terrorist organizations or violent extremist groups, and we continue to remove such accounts in real time, including proactive efforts.”
Regardless, today the commission said it opened the investigation because of “indications received by the Commission … of the alleged spreading of illegal content and disinformation, in particular the spreading of terrorist and violent content and hate speech.”
The EU is now requesting that X show that it has the correct protocols to ensure the platform has adhered to DSA policy. X will have until Oct. 18 to prove it has complied with DSA policy. The consequences could be severe, with companies that have been found to have broken the rules possibly facing a ban in the EU or being hit with a fine that could amount to 6% of global revenue.
Photo: Alexander Shatov/Unsplash
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