X to be probed by EU for alleged content violations

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By Carina

The European Commission has announced a formal investigation into X, previously known as Twitter, for possible violations of EU law concerning disinformation, illegal content, and transparency issues.

This development follows requests for the company, now under Elon Musk’s ownership, to demonstrate compliance with the EU’s new regulations aimed at curbing hate speech, racism, and fake news.

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EU probes X under DSA for illegal content and ‘blue check’ changes

The Digital Services Act (DSA), effective in August, empowers the EU to impose fines of up to 6% of a company’s global income or even ban it from operating within the EU for breaching the law.

EU Commissioner Thierry Breton confirmed this investigation in a post on X, citing “suspected breach of obligations to counter illegal content and disinformation; suspected breach of transparency obligations and suspected deceptive design of user interface.”

The investigation focuses on using “blue check” marks on X. Under Musk’s direction, the platform shifted the blue tick mark, previously a symbol of verified public figures, to a paid feature.

This change raises concerns about the potential spread of misinformation from accounts that might appear verified to users.

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EU raises concerns over X’s handling of content post-Hamas attack

Following a June meeting with Breton in California, Musk assured compliance with the law.

However, X has faced criticism for allegedly hosting fake news and hate speech, notably around the events of Hamas’s attack on Israel on 7 October and the ensuing Israeli response.

On 10 October, the EU addressed a formal letter to X, flagging the platform’s potential role in “disseminating illegal content and disinformation in the EU” post-Hamas attack.

X’s chief executive, Linda Yaccarino responded, stating that X was “actively working to address the operational needs of this fast-moving and evolving conflict.” She emphasized X’s commitment to removing content from terrorist organizations and violent extremist groups.

EU investigates X for Hamas-related content and content moderation issues

The Commission’s decision to proceed against X is based on a preliminary investigation, focusing on the “dissemination of illegal content in the context of Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel.”

Officials hint at suspicions over the platform’s content moderation effectiveness despite previous dialogues with Musk and Yaccarino.

The EU’s investigation will assess whether X’s search function favors blue tick accounts and spreads potentially misleading content.

There’s also concern over X’s investment in compliance, especially in European languages, amidst reports of minimal content moderation in some regions.

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EU investigates X’s content policies

While there’s no fixed timeline for the investigation, the EU might impose “unspecified interim measures” if necessary before its conclusion.

Even if X withdraws its services from the EU, the legal actions will still apply.

The investigation will scrutinize X’s mechanisms for handling illegal content, including responses to legal orders from EU authorities.

It will also review the effectiveness of X’s “community notes,” a feature allowing public comments on post integrity or legality.

Tech giants align with EU’s DSA, X faces compliance hurdles after withdrawing

Earlier this year, other tech giants like Facebook, TikTok, Google, and Microsoft aligned with the EU’s code of conduct in anticipation of the DSA.

However, under its previous management, X withdrew from this code, prompting Breton’s warning about the inevitability of DSA enforcement.

X faces a critical test in the EU, challenging its content moderation practices, transparency measures, and compliance with stringent digital regulations.

As the investigation unfolds, its outcomes could significantly impact the platform’s operations and broader digital policy compliance in the EU.

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