Friday, December 8, 2023

EU threatens sanctions on X (Twitter) for allowing fake news about Hamas attack on Israel

The European Union has caught the attention of Elon Musk once again. In this case, due to the lack of regulation on “disinformation” actions on X, formerly known as Twitter, related to the recent Hamas attack on Israel.

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market and Services of the European Union, sent an “urgent” letter to Musk to warn about the dissemination of illegal content on the platform you own. The situation would constitute a breach of the Digital Markets Law, which came into full force last August, Breton said.

“The media and civil society organizations widely report cases of false and manipulated images and facts that circulate on their platform,” the official explained in the letter. He referenced old footage from other conflicts and footage from video games. “This is manifestly false or misleading information,” he insisted.

Breton noted that despite the complaints, the content had not been removed. He stressed that the law requires Twitter to remove objected material “promptly and objectively.” He added that Musk needs to ensure “proportionate and effective mitigation measures” to address “risks to public safety and civic discourse.”

The commissioner gave the magnate a 24-hour deadline to respond to his questions. He also demanded that she contact the relevant law enforcement authorities and Europol. “Following the opening of a possible investigation and the confirmation of non-compliance, sanctions may be imposed,” Breton recalled.

If Musk does not comply, he may face a fine of 6% of the social network’s global revenue. In the most extreme case, it could mean suspension throughout the European Union.

Musk’s response to disinformation about Hamas’ attack on Israel

Musk soon responded with a message on Twitter about the claim of false information about the Hamas attack. “Our policy is that everything is open source and transparent, an approach that I know the European Union supports,” published the also leader of Tesla and SpaceX. And he challenged him: “List the violations you allude to in X, so the public can see them.”

Musk abandoned a voluntary code of practice established by the European Union in May to ensure that social networks implemented measures against misinformation. Other companies such as Facebook, Google and TikTok do participate in the agreement.

The European Union had warned last September that Twitter contained more false information than other platforms. A three-month pilot study — which was conducted in Spain, Poland and Slovakia — showed that Twitter was well below anti-misinformation guidelines in the region.

Breton retorted Musk’s hasty response: “You are very aware of reports from your users—and from authorities—about false content and glorification of violence.” And he added: “It’s up to you to show that you lead by example.”


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