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EU Issues Warning to Elon Musk ‘Disinformation’ Spreads on X Following Hamas Attack

EU Issues Warning to Elon Musk ‘Disinformation’ Spreads on X Following Hamas Attack

The European Union has issued a stern warning to Elon Musk, the CEO of X, regarding the spread of “disinformation” following a recent attack by Hamas on Israel. In a post on a social media platform formerly known as Twitter, Thierry Breton, the Commissioner for the Internal Market of the European Union, expressed concern over the presence of “violent and terrorist content” that had not been promptly removed, as required by EU law. While Musk claimed his company had taken action by removing newly created Hamas-affiliated accounts, Breton called on him to address the alleged violations specifically.

Breton’s letter did not provide explicit details about the disinformation in question but pointed out instances of “fake and manipulated images and facts” being widely reported on the social media platform. He urged Musk to ensure the effectiveness of X’s systems and report the crisis measures taken to combat the spread of disinformation. The EU’s warning came in the wake of a devastating attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on Israel, resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives and the taking of hostages. In response, Israeli forces launched extensive missile strikes on Gaza, leading to a tragic loss of more than 900 lives.

In his response on X, Musk emphasized the platform’s commitment to openness and transparency, principles he believed the EU supported. He requested specific details about the alleged violations, underscoring the importance of transparency for the public to evaluate the situation. Breton, in turn, reminded Musk of the reports submitted by users and authorities regarding fake content and the glorification of violence on X. He challenged Musk to demonstrate his commitment to addressing these issues effectively, asserting that actions speak louder than words.

The EU’s concerns are rooted in the Digital Services Act (DSA), a legislation designed to safeguard users of major tech platforms. Although the DSA became law in November, firms were granted a grace period to ensure their systems complied with the regulations. The EU identified very large online platforms, including X, with over 45 million EU users, subject to the strictest rules outlined in the DSA. These rules necessitate rigorous risk assessments, reporting, and implementation of measures to tackle potential problems. Failure to comply could result in substantial fines, equivalent to 6% of a company’s global turnover, or even suspension of services within the EU.

It’s worth noting that Musk dissolved Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council shortly after acquiring the company in 2022. This council, formed in 2016, consisted of approximately 100 independent groups providing advice on issues such as self-harm, child abuse, and hate speech. Despite these efforts, the EU’s warning underscores the ongoing challenges faced by major tech platforms in combating disinformation and ensuring compliance with stringent regulatory frameworks.


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