EU opens investigation into X over disinformation concerns

13 October 2023, 09:54

X logo
Twitter logo. Picture: PA

The European Commission has sent a request for information to the platform to check its compliance with the Digital Services Act.

The European Union has opened an investigation into Elon Musk’s X platform over concerns about the spread of illegal content and disinformation around the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The European Commission has sent the social media giant a formal request for information under its new online safety rules, known as the Digital Services Act (DSA), which came into force earlier this year.

Social media platforms have seen a surge in misinformation, violent content and hate speech about the conflict between Israel and Hamas in recent days, with both the EU and the UK warning the largest platforms that they must do more to stop its spread.

If the EU believes X, formerly known as Twitter, has breached the rules, it could open a formal investigation and if a breach is confirmed, X could face a substantial fine – up to 6% of global turnover – or have its service suspended.

Under the DSA, X has been designated a “very large online platform”, meaning it is required to comply with the strictest set of rules under the DSA, meaning assessing and mitigating the risks linked to the spread of illegal, harmful and violent content.

In a statement, the commission said: “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.

“The commission services are empowered to request further information to X in order to verify the correct implementation of the law.”

On Thursday, in response to initial concerns from the EU, X chief executive Linda Yaccarino said the site had removed hundreds of Hamas-linked accounts and also taken action to remove or label tens of thousands of posts related to the conflict.

Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan
Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan urged the UK leaders of the largest social media sites to do more to combat the rise of harmful content (PA)

In a letter to X from the commission’s digital policy chief, Thierry Breton, the company was warned that violent and illegal content, as well as hate speech, was spreading on the platform, despite being reported by users.

Earlier this week, Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan also convened a meeting of the UK leaders of the largest social media sites to urge them to do more to combat the rise of harmful content.

Ms Donelan told Google, Meta, X, TikTok and Snapchat they must respond to an uptick on violent content, and that their actions would reveal the companies’ preparedness for the upcoming passage into law of the UK’s own new internet rules – the Online Safety Bill.

By Press Association

More Technology News

See more More Technology News

Cyber attack at major London hospitals

Hundreds of operations and appointments cancelled in week after NHS cyber attack

Labour said it would also ban the creation of sexually explicit deepfakes (PA)

Labour commits to introducing AI regulation for tech giants

Daniel Bedingfield

Pop star Daniel Bedingfield praises AI for capturing ‘soul’ of his music

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX (PA)

Elon Musk says Tesla shareholders will vote to approve pay deal

Person wearing an Apple watch on their left wrist

Smart watches could help track Parkinson’s disease progression – study

A person's forefinger poised on the keyboard of a laptop computer

Gaming giant Steam facing £656m legal claim for ‘overcharging’ UK gamers

A group of schoolchildren standing around

Most children cannot name MP and fifth get political news from TikTok – survey

A person using a keyboard to sign into the X website on a laptop

Elon Musk confirms X will start hiding likes on posts

A technician working at Currys' Repair Centre in Newark, Nottinghamshire

Currys working to improve consumer trust in refurbished and repaired tech

Raspberry Pi 4 micro computer launch

Raspberry Pi shares jump 40% after London IPO

Apple WWDC event

Apple unveils generative AI assistant for iPhone, iPad and Mac at conference

ChatGPT on a MacBook

Apple keen on more deals with AI chatbots after link-up with ChatGPT

Elon Musk during an ‘in-conversation’ event

Elon Musk says he could ban Apple devices at his companies over OpenAI deal

Apple Intelligence writing tools

Apple Intelligence is ‘promising first step’ for firm’s AI tools, experts say


Genetics testing company 23andMe facing investigation over data breach

Apple Intelligence

Apple Intelligence: Tech giant unveils its new flagship generative AI tools