EU warns Musk that X spreading ‘illegal content’ after Hamas attacks on Israel

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The European Union (EU) sent a letter to Elon Musk Tuesday warning that his social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, was spreading illegal content and disinformation after the Hamas attacks on Israel.

Thierry Breton, the EU’s Commissioner for Internal Market, sent Musk a letter Tuesday, urging the CEO to update his content enforcement policies and to manage content that violates the bloc’s tech laws a timely manner.

“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 wrote in a letter to Musk and posted publicly on X. “Let me remind you that the Digital Services Act sets very precise obligations regarding content moderation.”

The Digital Services Act (DSA) is part of tech-focused regulations crafted last year. It’s designed to keep users safe and stop the spread of harmful content.

Misinformation is spreading across X, with users sharing misleading or false information about the attacks, including the U.S. sending a multi-billion dollar aid package to Israel.

The spread of misinformation during a conflict isn’t new, but under Musk’s leadership, concerns about accessing reliable information are increasing, The Hill reported.

X said Monday it is “laser focused and dedicated to protecting the conversation on X and enforcing our rule as we continue to assess the situation on the platform.”

Breton said that when Musk receives notices that illegal content is on his platform, the EU expects him to be “timely, diligent and objective in taking action and removing the relevant content when warranted.”

Despite users flagging the incorrect information about the attacks, some posts remain online, Breton said in his letter, also pointing to repurposed images of unrelated conflicts that purport to show horrors from the Hamas-Israel conflict.

Breton also said the platform needs better mitigation measures and is calling upon the billionaire CEO to respond within 24 hours. He also reminded Musk of the potential for non-compliance penalties.

Community Notes, a feature on X that aims to correct misinformation, said users have written 500 unique notes relating to the attacks and unfolding events, among others.

The platform said they are actively working on improving the community notes on matching video and image posts. It said in many cases it will send notifications to people who have liked, shared or replied to a post that later received a flag or note that it was inaccurate.  

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