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EU opens probe into X in test of new tech rules, pressure on TikTok, Meta

October 13, 2023 2:40 PM IST

Israel | Elon musk | European Union | Hamas | twitter | Tik Tok | Meta

European Union industry chief Thierry Breton on Thursday opened an investigation into Elon Musk’s X, the first under new EU tech rules, after earlier reprimanding the social media platform, TikTok and Meta for not doing enough to tackle the spread of disinformation following Hamas’ attack on Israel.

All three platforms have seen a surge of false content about the Israel and Hamas conflict, with disinformation appearing to be most prevalent on X, social media researchers told Reuters.

Breton’s move ramps up the pressure on TikTok and Meta to remove illegal and harmful content from their platforms in order to comply with the Digital Services Act (DSA).

The DSA, which entered into force in November last year, forces very large online platforms and search engines to do more to tackle illegal content and risks to public security, and protect their services against manipulative techniques.

X CEO Linda Yaccarino said on Thursday the platform had removed hundreds of Hamas-affiliated accounts and taken action to remove or label tens of thousands of pieces of content since the attack, in response to a letter from Breton.

“We have sent @X a formal request for information, a first step in our investigation to determine compliance with the DSA,” Breton said in a posting on X.

X declined to comment.

Musk on Friday said in a post on X EU has not provided any example of disinformation after EU industry chief Thierry Breton had asked to tackle the spread of disinformation on X, formerly known as Twitter.

It has until Oct. 18 to provide details on how its crisis response protocol is activated and functions, and until Oct. 31 on other issues.

Breton said in the letter to TikTok, owned by Chinese conglomerate ByteDance, that he had indications that it was being used to disseminate illegal content and disinformation in the EU after the Hamas attacks.

“Given that your platform is extensively used by children and teenagers, you have a particular obligation to protect them from violent content depicting hostage taking and other graphic videos which are reportedly widely circulating on your platform without appropriate safeguards,” he said.

(Inputs from Reuters)

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