EU launches probe into Elon Musk’s X for alleged failure to counter illegal content, disinformation

Release time:2023-12-22 Publisher:South Asia Development

The European Union has opened an investigation into Elon Musk’s social media platform X under its Digital Services Act (DSA). 

European Commissioner Thierry Breton said the EU had opened a formal infringement proceeding against the platform formerly known as Twitter for suspected breach of obligations to counter illegal content and disinformation, suspected breach of transparency obligations, and suspected deceptive design of the user interface.

The investigation marks one of the first big test cases of the DSA since it was announced earlier this year. The legislation is intended to prevent the spread of misinformation or violent content. 

X has faced increasing pressure to regulate its content following its multi-billion-dollar acquisition by Musk last year. In October, the EU ratcheted up pressure on the San Francisco-based company to provide information on its handling of hate speech, misinformation, and violent terrorist content related to the Israel-Hamas war.

The social media platform says it is “committed to complying with the Digital Services Act, and is cooperating with the regulatory process. It is important that this process remains free of political influence and follows the law.” 

“X is focused on creating a safe and inclusive environment for all users on our platform, while protecting freedom of expression, and we will continue to work tirelessly towards this goal,” the company said in a statement.

Musk has touted the platform as a place for free speech to thrive. But certain changes since he took over — such as cutting the number of content moderators and restoring the banned accounts of divisive public personalities — have turned off users and advertisers, who have fled in droves.

The EU’s investigation will look into whether X failed to do enough to curb the spread of illegal content — such as hate speech or incitement of terrorism — to its 112 million users in Europe.

That includes the effectiveness of X’s tools for users to flag up illegal material in posts and ads so that it can be swiftly removed, as well as whether the company is following its policies on restricting “sensitive content.”

The EU has called out X as the worst place online for fake news, and officials have exhorted Musk to do more to clean up the platform. 

A raft of big tech companies faced stricter scrutiny after the DSA took effect earlier this year, threatening penalties of up to 6% of their global revenue — which could amount to billions — or even a ban from the EU.

Fines are considered a last-ditch resort, and Brussels could first use “interim measures” to force companies to comply.

Source: Fox Business