EU Initiates First-Ever Investigation into the Spread of Fakes on X (Twitter) about Israel and Hamas
On Thursday, the European Commission officially made a legally binding request for information from the social media platform owned by Elon Musk, X (Twitter), regarding the dissemination of hate, disinformation, and violent terrorist content related to the Israel-Hamas conflict. This investigation marks the first practical test of the Digital Services Act (DSA), which came into effect on August 25, aimed at combating disinformation and illegal content online, as reported by Euronews.
In this case, the investigation is being conducted to determine whether X (Twitter) is adhering to the new rules designed to ensure user safety on the internet and prevent the spread of harmful content.
The San Francisco-based company, X (Twitter), has until Wednesday to respond to inquiries regarding the functioning of its crisis response protocol, and responses to other questions are due by October 31.
Representatives from X (Twitter) did not immediately respond to requests for comments on the situation. Earlier, the company's CEO, Linda Yakkari, stated that the site had removed hundreds of accounts associated with Hamas and deleted or marked tens of thousands of pieces of content since the militants' attack on Israel. However, a social media expert referred to these actions as "a drop in the ocean."
"X (Twitter) is assessing and responding to identified fake and manipulated content during this constantly evolving and changing crisis proportionally and effectively," Yakkari stated in response to a letter from Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner responsible for the EU's digital policy.
If X (Twitter) is found to have violated the rules, it may face fines exceeding 6% of the company's annual revenue, as stipulated by the new EU Digital Markets Act. The new regulations require platforms with over 45 million active users in the EU to quickly scan and remove illegal content from their services, as well as provide detailed descriptions of their methodologies.
It's worth noting that X (Twitter) previously disabled a feature that allowed users to report election-related disinformation. This removal occurred less than three weeks before the first quarter-century referendum in Australia, which will decide whether to amend the constitution to create an advisory body for Indigenous peoples in parliament, and 14 months before the U.S. presidential elections.
Reminder, in Bulgaria, approximately 400 websites promoting Russian propaganda and disseminating fake information were recently discovered.
In Ukraine, to combat Russian propaganda, pro-Russian television channels were shut down in 2021 and early 2022, which were owned by individuals with close ties to the Kremlin. In 2017, access to Russian social media platforms and several informational resources with active anti-Ukrainian propaganda was also restricted within Ukraine.