Friday, 19 July 2024

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EU Commission targets X over ‘dissemination of illegal content’

EU Commission targets X over ‘dissemination of illegal content’

The European Commission said it had opened formal proceedings to investigate X — formerly Twitter — over content related to the terrorist group Hamas’ attacks against Israel.

In a Dec. 18 notice, the commission said it planned to assess whether X violated the Digital Services Act for its response to misinformation and illegal content on the platform. According to the government body, X was under investigation for the effectiveness of its Community Notes — comments added to specific tweets aimed at providing context — as well as policies “mitigating risks to civic discourse and electoral processes.”

“The opening of formal proceedings empowers the Commission to take further enforcement steps, such as interim measures, and non-compliance decisions,” said the notice. “The Commission is also empowered to accept any commitment made by X to remedy on the matters subject to the proceeding.”

The proceedings will include a look into X’s blue check mark system, which the commission described as a “suspected deceptive design” on the platform. According to the European Commission, there were also “suspected shortcomings” in X’s efforts to increase transparency of the platform’s publicly available data.

X owner Elon Musk implemented controversial policies at the social media giant following his purchase of Twitter in 2022, receiving criticism from many long-time users and tech industry experts. The then-CEO was responsible for cutting Twitter’s trust and safety team, reducing the number of content moderators, and replacing the platform’s signature blue check verification system. 

Related: Elon Musk slams NFTs but ends up arguing the case for Bitcoin Ordinals

Following the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, Musk used his personal account to promote antisemitic content by replying to a tweet promoting far-right conspiracy theories. The watchdog group Media Matters released a report in November showing that advertisements on X for large firms were able to be featured alongside pro-nazi content under certain search conditions.

During a Nov. 29 interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin, Musk told advertisers to…

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