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The European Union has initiated an investigation into the social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, concerning its content management during the Israel-Gaza war.
The investigation marks the EU’s most notable action under its recently enacted Digital Services Act (DSA), designed to curb the dissemination of illegal content and misinformation on digital platforms.
In commenting on the move, EU Commissioner Thierry Breton stated on X, “The #DSA is here to protect both freedom of expression & our democracies — including in times of crisis. We have sent @X a formal request for information, a first step in our investigation to determine compliance with the DSA.” This probe by the European Commission was instigated after they identified potential proliferation of “terrorist and violent content and hate speech” on X. Earlier this week, X had received a warning letter from the EU.
X CEO Linda Yaccarino responded to the EU’s concerns by detailing the platform’s actions amidst the conflict. She mentioned that X took down numerous accounts associated with Hamas post-attack. Additionally, she highlighted their efforts to allocate resources effectively and assess “fake and manipulated content during this constantly evolving and shifting crisis.”
This comes as there’s been a surge of misinformation on X, with outdated Israeli airstrikes being portrayed as current events, videos and images of terrorist attacks not associated with the current conflict, and incorrect reports of the US offering a substantial aid package to Israel. This has led to some expressing increasing worries about misinformation on X, especially following changes introduced by owner Elon Musk. Among the changes was a modification in content moderation practices and an updated platform’s verification system.