EU
EU

EU acts against X for illegal content and disinformation

What To Know

  • In a somewhat ironic twist, Thierry Breton, the European commissioner for the internal market, took to X to share the news, shedding light on the platform’s suspected transgressions related to transparency and countering illegal content.
  • Such designees had a scant four months to dance to the DSA tune, involving the establishment of a specific point of contact, transparent advertising and content moderation, and user-friendly terms and conditions.
  • The Commission’s actions come hot on the heels of X’s risk assessment report submitted in September, a transparency report published by the platform in November, and persistent concerns about X’s handling (or mishandling) of content related to the Israel-Hamas War.
  • Breton, not one to mince words, penned a letter to Elon Musk emphasizing the platform’s responsibility to moderate posts in line with the DSA, triggering an investigation by the European Union.

As the curtains fall on 2023, X (previously known as Twitter) finds itself not just with a revamped identity but also under a relentless storm of criticism and legal scrutiny. The European Commission (EU) has made a grand entrance into X’s affairs, initiating formal infringement proceedings to investigate potential violations of the Digital Services Act (DSA).

In a somewhat ironic twist, Thierry Breton, the European commissioner for the internal market, took to X to share the news, shedding light on the platform’s suspected transgressions related to transparency and countering illegal content. The investigation doesn’t stop there, as the potentially “deceptive design” employed by X is also under the Commission’s magnifying glass.

The European Commission, in its press release, unveils its grand plan to scrutinize X’s Community Notes feature, evaluating its effectiveness in “mitigating risks” to “civic discourse and electoral processes.” Additionally, it pledges to address “suspected shortcomings” in X’s decision to limit access to its data firehose, a move that could cast a shadow on researchers and other public bodies.

The Commission’s crosshairs extend to X’s advertising platform and the “suspected deceptive design” lurking behind features like paid checkmarks. Fast forward to February 2023, and all online services within the EU were mandated to disclose their size, a litmus test to ascertain whether they qualify as a Very Large Online Platform (VLOP).

Any platform boasting over 45 million users across the EU clinched the VLOP title. Such designees had a scant four months to dance to the DSA tune, involving the establishment of a specific point of contact, transparent advertising and content moderation, and user-friendly terms and conditions.

The laundry list continues with mandates to identify and mitigate risks, ranging from illegal content to gender-based violence and protection of minors. Additional logistical hoops include allowing vetted researchers access to data revealing systemic risks in the EU, data sharing with the Commission, and an annual independent audit.

The Commission’s actions come hot on the heels of X’s risk assessment report submitted in September, a transparency report published by the platform in November, and persistent concerns about X’s handling (or mishandling) of content related to the Israel-Hamas War.

Breton, not one to mince words, penned a letter to Elon Musk emphasizing the platform’s responsibility to moderate posts in line with the DSA, triggering an investigation by the European Union. In a statement that reverberates with authority, Breton declares that the newly announced proceedings signal the end of the era where big online platforms act as if they are ‘too big to care.’

He emphasizes the now crystal-clear rules, ex-ante obligations, robust oversight, swift enforcement, and deterrent sanctions. The Commission, armed with its toolbox, vows to utilize every instrument to safeguard citizens and democracies. Notably, this marks the Commission’s maiden venture into formal proceedings to enforce these EU regulations.

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