EU industry chief, Thierry Breton has expressed worry about the series of “fake news” on the X platform with regards to the recent conflict in the Middle East. On Tuesday, he told Elon Musk to tackle such information on his platform. In the wake of the recent violence in the Middle East, Breton said X was being used to post illegal content and false news.
The European Union (EU) has urged big tech companies to take action against terrorist content. This is coming after the recent Hamas attack on Israel. The EU has warned that companies must remove illegal content from their platforms. It warns that if they do not remove these contents, they will face severe legal penalties. Fake news on the conflict has surged since the attack. This includes fake images and false videos, alongside images of graphic violence.
A European Commission (EC) spokesperson told Reuters
“Content circulating online that can be associated to Hamas qualifies as terrorist content is illegal, and needs to be removed under both the DSA (Digital Services Act) and TCO (Terrorist Content Online) Regulation,”
EU’s executive branch, the EC, has reminded all social media brands of their obligation within the region. The EC says they are legally required to prevent the spread of harmful content related to Hamas. The EU has issued warnings to big tech CEOs, including Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. These big tech CEOs will have to ensure strict compliance with European law. In his letters to Musk and Zuckerberg, EU industry chief, Thierry Breton said their brands had 24 hours to inform the EU how they were stopping harmful content on their platforms.
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Digital Services Act
The EU’s newly enacted Digital Services Act holds companies responsible for monitoring and removing illegal content like terrorist content or illegal hate speech. Failure to comply with the European regulations around illegal content could result in fines worth 6% of a company’s annual revenue. Meta is responsible for monitoring misinformation and illegal content under the EU’s Digital Services Act, and Breton asked Zuckerberg to respond within 24 hours.
The EU’s Special Operations Center
The EU has created a special operations centre staffed with experts. This includes fluent Hebrew and Arabic speakers. The aim of this centre is to closely monitor and respond to the rapidly evolving situation. The EU has warned that social media firms have seen a surge in fake news related to the conflict. To this end, these brands must do all they can to ensure that the fake news does not persist on their platforms.
The EC spokesperson also said
“The Commission will fully apply the DSA and monitor the full implementation of the TCO. The Commission urges online platforms to fully comply with EU rules.”
The recently enacted DSA mandates big online brands, like X and Meta’s Facebook, to delete illegal content. These brands should also take steps to address threats to public safety and civic dialogue. Any company found in violation of the DSA faces a punishment of up to 6% of global turnover. Also, repeat violators may be barred from operating in Europe entirely. It is unknown whether Breton issued similar communications to other social media companies named in the DSA.
The EU has urged big tech companies to take action against terrorist content after the recent Hamas attack on Israel. The EU has warned that companies must remove illegal content from their platforms or face severe legal penalties. It reminds all social media companies that they have a legal responsibility. This is to prevent the spread of harmful content with links to Hamas. The EU’s newly enacted Digital Services Act holds companies responsible for monitoring and removing illegal content like terrorist content or illegal hate speech.