A European regulatory authority has officially reached out to X, owned by Elon Musk, to request information related to the dissemination of illegal content and disinformation during the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, has announced that the European Union’s executive body, the European Commission, is conducting an inquiry to determine if X is compliant with the Digital Services Act (DSA). The DSA is designed to safeguard freedom of expression and the integrity of democracies, even during times of crisis. It came into effect in late August and mandates that platforms with over 45 million monthly active users in the European Union proactively scan for and remove illegal content while outlining their methodologies. Non-compliance with the DSA can result in fines amounting to 6% of a company’s annual revenue.
Breton has written a letter to Elon Musk expressing concerns about disinformation and the presence of “violent and terrorist” content on the platform. He has urged Musk to respond within 24 hours. Breton had previously communicated with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg regarding disinformation on Facebook.
The European Commission has disclosed that it is evaluating X’s adherence to the DSA, with a specific focus on its policies and practices related to illegal content notifications, complaint handling, risk assessment, and measures to mitigate identified risks.
X is required to provide information regarding its “crisis response protocol” to the European Commission by October 18, along with other related data by October 31. The commission will then consider the next steps.
Since late August 2023, X has been classified as a Very Large Online Platform and is required to adhere to the full spectrum of provisions outlined in the DSA. These provisions cover the evaluation and mitigation of risks related to the dissemination of illegal content, disinformation, gender-based violence, and any adverse effects on fundamental rights, children’s rights, public security, and mental well-being.
X has chosen not to comment on the formal request for information.
In response to Breton’s warning letter, X’s CEO Linda Yaccarino outlined the company’s actions. Following a terrorist attack by Hamas in Israel, X redirected resources and refocused internal teams to address the evolving situation promptly. The company mentioned taking measures to remove or label thousands of pieces of content and providing community notes on numerous posts following the terrorist attack on Israel. X also noted its continued responsiveness to law enforcement requests from around the world, including EU member states. As of receiving Breton’s letter, the company had not received any notices from Europol regarding illegal content on the platform.