European Regulator Investigates X (Formerly Known as Twitter) for Illegal Content and Disinformation during Israel-Hamas Conflict
In a bid to combat the spread of illegal content and disinformation, the European Commission has sent a formal request to X (formerly known as Twitter) for information regarding their handling of such content during the Israel-Hamas conflict. This move comes as part of the commission’s investigation into X’s compliance with the Digital Services Act (DSA), which mandates that platforms with over 45 million monthly active users in the EU remove illegal content and provide transparent details about their methodologies.
The failure to comply with the DSA could result in hefty fines amounting to a substantial 6% of the company’s annual revenue. European Commissioner Thierry Breton recently expressed his concerns about disinformation and the presence of “violent and terrorist” content on X’s platform in a letter addressed to the owner of X, Elon Musk. Breton requested a response from the company within a strict 24-hour timeframe. In a similar vein, Breton also sent a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg regarding disinformation on Facebook.
The European Commission’s formal request to X focuses on the company’s adherence to the DSA, particularly their policies and practices concerning illegal content, complaint handling, risk assessment, and mitigation measures. By October 18, X must provide the EC with information about their “crisis response protocol,” and other pertinent data by October 31.
When contacted for a comment on the EC’s request, X declined to offer any response. However, X CEO Linda Yaccarino has stated that the company has been mobilizing their resources and internal teams to address the grave situation following the terrorist attack on Israel. Yaccarino added that X has already taken action to remove or label tens of thousands of pieces of content associated with the conflict. The company is also actively cooperating with law enforcement agencies, promptly responding to their requests.
As of now, X has not received any notices from Europol regarding illegal content, further indicating their commitment to eliminating such content from their platform.
The European Commission’s investigation into X is a significant step towards ensuring that tech giants adhere to regulations aimed at curtailing the spread of illegal content and disinformation. With the prominence of social media platforms in today’s society, it becomes increasingly pertinent to hold these companies accountable for their role in disseminating harmful content. The findings of this investigation and X’s subsequent actions will undoubtedly shape the future of online content monitoring and regulation.
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