New Telegraph

February 25, 2024

Elon Musk Faces EU Sanction Over ‘Illegal Content’ On X

The Chief Executive Officer of the micro-blogging site, X, previously known as Twitter, Elon Musk, has received a stern warning from the European Union (EU) on what it described as illegal content and misinformation being circulated on the platform in connection with the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

Musk has been issued a 24 hours ultimatum to respond and carefully followed the European Commission laws against the publication of illicit content, failing which might result in sanctions that include fines equal to 6% of the company’s annuarevenuel .

There are signs that groups are disseminating false information and “violent and terrorist” content on X, according to a letter posted on X by the European commissioner for the internal market, Thierry Breton.

He ordered the billionaire to answer within a 24-hour window.

The letter came after multiple researchers, news outlets, and other organisations found an increase in dubious, inaccurate, and misleading content on X, which misled people about the ongoing conflict.

Particularly, Cyabra, an Israeli analytic company that has studied bot accounts on Twitter/X, has previously discovered a sizable number of phoney accounts on the site disseminating pro-Hamas propaganda.

Bretton wrote the following in the letter to Elon Musk that was released on X: “Dear, Mr. Musk

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“Following the terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas against Israel, we have indications that your platform is being used to disseminate illegal content and disinformation in the EU. Let me remind you that the Digital Services Act sets very precise obligations regarding content moderation.

“First, you need to be very transparent and clear on what content is permitted under your terms and consistently and diligently enforce your own policies. This is particularly relevant when it comes to violent and terrorist content that appears to circulate on your platform.

Your latest changes in public interest policies that occurred overnight left many European users
“Second, when you receive notices of illegal content in the EU, you must be timely, diligent, and objective in taking action and removing the relevant content when warranted.

We have, from qualified sources, reports about potentially illegal content circulating on your service despite flags from relevant authorities.
“Third, you need to have in place proportionate and effective mitigation measures to tackle the risks to public security and civic discourse stemming from disinformation.

Public media and civil society organizations widely report instances of fake and manipulated images and facts circulating on your platform in the EU, such as repurposed old images of unrelated armed conflicts or military footage that actually originated from video games.

“This appears to be manifestly false or misleading information.

I therefore invite you to urgently ensure that your systems are effective, and report on the crisis measures taken to my team.

“Given the urgency, I also expect you to be in contact with the relevant law enforcement authorities and Europol, and ensure that you respond promptly to their requests.

“Moreover, on a number of other issues of DSA compliance that deserve immediate attention, my team will follow up shortly with a specific request.

“I urge you to ensure a prompt, accurate, and complete response to this request within the next 24 hours. We will include your answer in our assessment file on your compliance with the I remind you that following the opening of a potential investigation and a finding of non-compliance, penalties can be imposed.

Earlier concerns
In late September, the EU had also accused X of being used by pro-Russian forces to push misinformation and disinformation about the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

The EU said these actors were more in number on X compared with other social networking platforms such as TikTok, and Facebook, among others.

The company has, however, debunked the claim saying the EU’s position is not a reflection of its data. X said it has also been addressing misinformation on its platform through its community notes feature.

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