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EU investigates Elon Musk’s X over alleged failure to combat illegal content and disinformation

The European Union is launching a formal investigation into Elon Musk’s social media platform, X, under the Digital Services Act (DSA).

European Commissioner Thierry Breton announced the initiation of a formal infringement proceeding against the platform, X, formerly known as Twitter. The investigation focuses on suspected violations related to countering illegal content and disinformation, transparency obligations, and potential deceptive design of the user interface.

This investigation is one of the first major tests for the DSA, a law introduced this year to stop the spread of false information or violent content.

On the other hand, the social media platform asserted that it is “committed to complying with the Digital Services Act, and is cooperating with the regulatory process. It is important that this process remains free of political influence and follows the law.”

“X is focused on creating a safe and inclusive environment for all users on our platform, while protecting freedom of expression, and we will continue to work tirelessly towards this goal,” the company said in a statement.

While Musk has promoted the platform as a place for free speech, some changes, including reducing the number of content moderators and reinstating banned accounts of controversial figures, have led to a decline in user and advertiser interest, resulting in a significant exodus.

X has also been under increasing pressure to regulate its content since Elon Musk’s acquisition last year. In October, the EU intensified its call for the platform to provide details about its handling of hate speech, misinformation, and violent terrorist content related to the Israel-Hamas war.

The EU’s investigation will look into whether X sufficiently addressed the dissemination of illegal content, including hate speech or incitement of terrorism, to its 112 million users in Europe. This means evaluating the effectiveness of X’s tools for users to report illegal material in posts and ads for immediate removal. Furthermore, it will assess if the company adheres to its policies regarding the restriction of “sensitive content.”

The EU has criticized X for being the worst place online for fake news, urging Musk to take stronger actions to clean up the platform.

Following the enforcement of the DSA this year, big tech companies are under heightened scrutiny, facing potential penalties of up to 6% of their global revenue or even an EU ban. While fines are a last resort, Brussels may initially implement “interim measures” to force companies to comply.


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