Elon Musk’s X faces EU probe over dealing with of Israel-Gaza battle


The European Fee is investigating X’s dealing with of unlawful content material associated to the Israel-Gaza battle, marking probably the most vital motion the bloc has taken up to now underneath a landmark social media legislation that requires tech platforms to deal with disinformation and different dangerous posts.

Thierry Breton, a European commissioner, introduced on Thursday that the European Union had despatched a proper request to X, the corporate previously known as Twitter, underneath the Digital Companies Act. The fee is zeroing in on the dissemination of hate speech, violence and terrorist content material on X, probing whether or not its insurance policies and dealing with of complaints about unlawful content material are in compliance with the legislation. If X fails to reply precisely or by the Oct. 18 deadline, the corporate may face fines.

The demand marks an escalation from earlier this week, when Breton despatched a warning letter to X proprietor Elon Musk, urgent him on whether or not the platform was getting used to disseminate “unlawful content material and disinformation” associated to the Hamas assaults towards Israel.

“The #DSA is right here to guard each freedom of expression & our democracies — together with in occasions of disaster,” Breton wrote on X on Thursday.

Europe takes its battle towards Large Tech to CEOs’ turf: San Francisco

The European Union’s legislation, which got here into power for giant platforms in August, may pose a major test towards Musk and the hands-off strategy he has taken to policing misinformation and different dangerous content material on X. The E.U. has constructed a fame as Silicon Valley’s prime cop, and X’s dealing with of terrorist content material and different posts associated to the battle poses an early take a look at of how the legislation could also be enforced.

In the meantime, Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of the social media large practically a yr in the past has remodeled the positioning, because it restored 1000’s of beforehand banned accounts and relaxed some guidelines on the positioning — making an attempt to make good on a vow from Musk to make the platform a haven free speech. Advertisers have fled, involved about hateful content material surging on the positioning.

X didn’t reply to a request for remark.

In a response to Breton, X chief govt Linda Yaccarino wrote that the corporate had eliminated or labeled tens of 1000’s of posts, and utilized crowdsourced reality checks, known as Group Notes, to 1000’s of different posts. She additionally mentioned the corporate assembled a management group to deal with the “disaster response” to the battle, and he or she shared particulars concerning the firm’s insurance policies and their enforcement. She mentioned that X has recognized and eliminated a whole bunch of Hamas-affiliated accounts for the reason that begin of the battle and that it has responded to greater than 80 takedown requests within the European Union in a “diligent and goal method.”

“X is dedicated to transparency, security and the profitable implementation of the DSA and can proceed to take all acceptable steps to that finish,” she wrote, in line with a tweet.

The E.U.’s determination to open the probe indicators that Breton discovered the corporate’s response to his Tuesday letter missing. Hours earlier than asserting the probe, Breton mentioned the DSA enforcement workforce was analyzing Musk’s response and figuring out subsequent steps.

Breton’s Tuesday letter mentioned the European Fee had “indications” that the platform was getting used to disseminate unlawful content material. He instructed Musk that the corporate wanted to be clear about what content material was permitted underneath its guidelines and that the corporate wanted to be well timed in taking motion when it receives notices of unlawful content material within the E.U.

Breton additionally instructed the corporate it wanted “proportionate and efficient mitigation measures to sort out the dangers to public safety and civic discourse stemming from disinformation.” He cited media experiences that repurposed outdated photographs of unrelated conflicts and photographs from video video games had been getting used to mislead the general public concerning the Israel-Gaza battle.

Musk responded publicly to Breton in a put up on X on Tuesday.

“Our coverage is that all the things is open supply and clear, an strategy that I do know the E.U. helps,” he mentioned. “Please checklist the violations you allude to on 𝕏, in order that the general public can see them. Merci beaucoup.”

As false battle data spreads on X, Musk promotes unvetted accounts

Amid a surge of war-related misinformation, Musk himself has personally advisable that customers observe accounts infamous for selling falsehoods. On Sunday morning, he instructed his 150 million followers to get updates concerning the battle in actual time from a pair of accounts that beforehand unfold false claims of an explosion close to the White Home. He deleted the tweet after it had been seen 11 million occasions in three hours.

Reset, a London-based evaluation group that research social media’s affect on democracy, mentioned Thursday that its researchers had turned up quite a few examples on X of disinformation associated to the Israel-Gaza battle, together with examples of antisemitic hate that the group mentioned would seem to violate European legislation. Dozens of the examples it offered remained reside on X as of Thursday, together with posts dehumanizing Jewish folks, calling for his or her annihilation and referring to the Holocaust as a hoax, together with posts from customers with swastikas of their bios.

Breton despatched warnings to a number of social media firms about their dealing with of unlawful content material and disinformation associated to the Hamas assault on Israel underneath the Digital Companies Act.

On Thursday, he despatched a letter to TikTok chief govt Shou Zi Chew, saying that the corporate has a “explicit obligation” to guard kids and youngsters utilizing the social community from “violent content material depicting hostage taking and different graphic movies.” In a Wednesday letter to Meta chief govt Mark Zuckerberg, Breton requested him to be “very vigilant to make sure strict compliance with the DSA guidelines.”

In June, Breton traveled to X’s headquarters in San Francisco to check whether or not the corporate was ready for its obligations underneath the DSA. Breton mentioned he had a “superb” assembly with Musk and Yaccarino, however that the take a look at confirmed the corporate nonetheless had work to do earlier than enforcement started.

And shortly after Musk took over X, the world’s richest man tweeted: “The chook is freed.” Inside hours, Breton responded that in Europe, “the chook will fly by our guidelines.”

Will Oremus contributed to this report.


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