The EU is probing X’s response to Israel-Hamas misinformation

The European Union (EU) has opened an investigation into X (previously Twitter) for lackluster moderation of unlawful content material and disinformation within the wake of the Israel-Hamas warfare. The transfer, via Monetary Occasions, comes two days after EU Commissioner Thierry Breton sent an “urgent” letter to X proprietor Elon Musk asking the billionaire in regards to the firm’s dealing with of misinformation. The formal probe is the primary underneath the newly minted Digital Providers Act (DSA), which requires platforms working in Europe to police dangerous content material — and might levy fines important sufficient to present it enamel.

EU officers despatched a sequence of inquiries to X that the corporate has till October 18 to reply. The fee says it’s going to decide its subsequent steps “primarily based on the evaluation of X replies.” The DSA, which passed into law in 2022, requires social firms to proactively reasonable and take away unlawful content material. Failing to take action may result in periodic fines or penalties that, in X’s case, may complete as much as “5 p.c of the corporate’s every day international turnover,” based on FT.

Researchers and fact-checkers have cautioned about widely distributed misinformation on X following the Hamas assaults on Israel. Tuesday’s letter warned Musk about dangerous content material on X, signaling that Breton was ready to make use of the DSA’s full muscle to implement compliance. “Following the terrorist assaults carried out by Hamas in opposition to Israel, we now have indications that your platform is getting used to disseminate unlawful content material and disinformation within the EU,” Breton wrote. “Let me remind you that the Digital Providers Act units very exact obligations relating to content material moderation.”

Musk’s response appeared to comprise a minimum of a whiff of snark. “Our coverage is that every thing is open supply and clear, an method that I do know the EU helps,” the X proprietor and Tesla CEO wrote. “Please record the violations you allude to on X, in order that that [sic] the general public can see them. Merci beaucoup.” Breton retorted, “You might be properly conscious of your customers’ — and authorities’ — stories on pretend content material and glorification of violence. As much as you to reveal that you simply stroll the discuss.”

EU Commissioner Thierry Breton (Isabel Infantes / reuters)

Yaccarino’s response claimed the corporate redistributed its assets and shuffled inner groups to handle moderation points surrounding the Center East battle. She mentioned X has eliminated or labeled “tens of hundreds of items of content material” for the reason that assaults commenced.

The CEO added that X deleted a whole bunch of Hamas-aligned accounts from the platform whereas stating that the corporate works with counter-terrorism organizations. Yaccarino said X’s Community Notes, a crowdsourced moderation characteristic, is now supported on Android and the net (with iOS “coming quickly”). She additionally claimed the corporate has “considerably scaled” a characteristic that sends notifications to individuals who preferred, replied to or reposted one thing that later acquired a Group Notice fact-check.

The EU’s newly opened probe additionally questions how X is ready to react throughout a disaster and what procedures it has to deal with related misinformation. The corporate allegedly has till the tip of October to answer that line of questioning.

Breton isn’t focusing completely on X. The commissioner additionally despatched letters to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and TikTok proprietor ByteDance this week, reminding them of their obligations to the DSA within the wake of the Center East bloodshed.

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