Thursday, July 25, 2024

EU opens formal probe into X over content related to Israel-Hamas war

The European Commission has formally opened an investigation into Elon Musk-owned X, over an alleged spreading of illegal content and disinformation, in particular the spreading of terrorist and violent content and hate speech in the wake of an ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

The Commission said late on Thursday that it has sent a formal request for information to X under the Digital Services Act (DSA).

Following its designation as “Very Large Online Platform”, X is required to comply with the full set of provisions introduced by the DSA since late August, including the assessment and mitigation of risks related to the dissemination of illegal content, disinformation, gender-based violence, and any negative effects on the exercise of fundamental rights, rights of the child, public security and mental well-being.

“In this particular case, the Commission services are investigating X’s compliance with the DSA, including with regard to its policies and practices regarding notices on illegal content, complaint handling, risk assessment and measures to mitigate the risks identified,” said the Commission.

X needs to provide the requested information to the Commission services by October 18 for questions related to the activation and functioning of the platform’s crisis response protocol, and by October 31 on the rest.

“Based on the assessment of X replies, the Commission will assess next steps. This could entail the formal opening of proceedings pursuant to Article 66 of the DSA,” the Commission said.

“In case of failure to reply by X, the Commission may decide to request the information by decision. In this case, failure to reply by the deadline could lead to the imposition of period penalties,” it added.

Earlier this week, EU commissioner Thierry Breton warned Musk, saying that his X platform “is being used to disseminate illegal content and disinformation in the EU” after the October 7 Hamas attacks in Israel.

In a letter addressed to Musk, Breton said that following the “terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas against Israel”, they have indications that “your platform is being used to disseminate illegal content and disinformation in the EU”.

X CEO Linda Yaccarino on Thursday said that the microblogging platform has removed hundreds of “Hamas-linked accounts” and “taken action to remove or label tens of thousands of pieces of content” since the attack on Israel.

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