Billionaire Elon Musk’s X — formerly Twitter — and the European Union (EU) have been clashing over censorship rules during the Israel-Hamas War.
A top EU commissioner sent an “urgent letter” to Musk on Tuesday criticizing his platform’s insufficient censorship of “disinformation” and unlawful content, warning about potentially massive fines for not complying with the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA). Musk pushed back against the letter shortly after on X, asserting that the platform is transparent and asking for specific examples of DSA violations.
“Up to you to demonstrate that you walk the talk,” EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton responded on X, asserting that Musk is aware of the violative content and needs to prove the platform is tackling it. “My team remains at your disposal to ensure DSA compliance, which the EU will continue to enforce rigorously.”
Although the EU addressed their warning letter to Musk, X CEO Linda Yaccarino was the one who responded on Wednesday, defending the platform’s effort to crack down on certain content and the need for open dialogue.
“There is no place on X for terrorist organizations or violent extremist groups and we continue to remove such accounts in real time, including proactive efforts,” Yaccarino wrote. “In crisis situations, X’s unique purpose to serve the public conversation, access and share information, raise awareness about situations they are in and on the ground, and openly and freely exchange on issues becomes all the more critical.”
“We have indications of X/Twitter being used to disseminate illegal content & disinformation in the EU,” Breton wrote in the letter to Musk. “The Digital Service Act sets very precise obligations regarding content moderation” and X must “be very transparent and clear on what content is permitted under your terms and consistently and diligently enforce your own policies.”
The DSA applies to large social media platforms and it includes fines of up to 6% of their global annual revenue.
“I remind you that following the opening of a potential investigation and a finding of non-compliance, penalties can be imposed,” Breton wrote.
Breton confirmed the EU received Yaccarino’s response letter and asserted that the “DSA enforcement team will analyse the reply and decide on next steps.”
“We are aware of content circulating on social media, glorifying or justifying the attacks by Hamas on Israel,” a European Commission spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “We are appalled by such images and posts. The EU provides strong common rules for online platforms, and Member States, to stop the dissemination of terrorist and violent content online.”
X did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
Jason Cohen on October 12, 2023