Elon Musk’s X responded Wednesday to the European Union’s threat to investigate the platform over alleged “illegal content and disinformation” regarding Hamas’ terrorist attacks.
Earlier this week, European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton posted a letter to Musk on X, demanding the social media outlet comply with the EU’s Digital Services Act. The measure requires platforms to remove illegal content and so-called hate speech and disinformation.
Breton accused X of being in violation of the act, which took effect in August.
“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,” Breton’s letter to Musk stated.
Breton called on X to be “timely, diligent and objective in taking action” to remove content from the platform accused of violating the EU’s new law.
“We have, from qualified sources, reports about potentially illegal content circulating on your service despite flags from relevant authorities,” he added.
Musk was urged to coordinate with law enforcement and Europol to ensure X’s compliance. Breton gave the platform 24 hours to reply to the requests.
The letter concluded by informing Musk that the EU may open an investigation and that non-compliance with the law could result in penalties.
Musk replied the same day, stating that the EU had failed to provide specific examples of violations.
“Our policy is that everything is open source and transparent, an approach that I know the EU supports. Please list the violations you allude to on X, so that that [sic] the public can see them,” Musk wrote.
“We take our actions in the open,” he added. “No back room deals. Please post your concerns explicitly on this platform.”
On Wednesday, X’s new CEO, Linda Yaccarino, replied to the EU’s demands, providing a detailed list of actions taken by the platform to mitigate illegal content and alleged disinformation.
She noted that since Hamas’ terrorist attacks against Israel over the past week, X has “redistributed resources and refocused internal teams who are working around the clock to address this rapidly evolving situation.”
“Today we responded to the European Commission’s letter seeking an update on how we are responding to this conflict,” Yaccarino continued. “Our work is ongoing.”
X’s response letter stated that the platform is working to remove accounts created by “terrorist organizations” and “violent extremist groups.”
“Since the terrorist attack on Israel, we have taken action to remove or label tens of thousands of pieces of content, while Community Notes are visible on thousands of posts, generating millions of impressions,” it read.
Yaccarino claimed that X had not received any notices from Europol regarding illegal content.
According to the CEO, immediately following the attacks on Israel, the platform assembled a leadership group assigned to assess the situation.
The letter reiterated the social media site’s policies on violent and hateful speech and illegal content.
“With respect to harmful, but not illegal content, our public interest interstitials, which provide for us to take action on a post while allowing it to remain accessible, were limited to government officials and political leaders’ legacy verified accounts,” it stated. “Placing a post behind this notice also limits the ability to engage with the post through likes, Reposts, or sharing on X, and makes sure the post isn’t algorithmically recommended by X. These actions are meant to limit the post’s reach while maintaining the public’s ability to view and discuss it.”
Yaccarino explained that X users have the ability to report posts and direct messages believed to be illegal. She noted that the platform has already “identified and removed hundreds of Hamas-affiliated accounts from the platform.”
Additionally, X has worked with law enforcement agencies and responded to over 80 requests received in the EU to take down content, the CEO said. She also noted that the platform has utilized its Community Notes feature to address misleading content.
“More than 700 unique notes related to the attacks and unfolding events are showing on X,” the letter said, adding that the platform recently accelerated the speed at which the notes appear.
“We wish to reiterate that we welcome further engagement with you and your team, including a meeting, to address any specific questions and look forward to receiving further specifics to which we can respond,” Yaccarino wrote.
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