EU Launches Investigation into X over Alleged ‘Illegal Content, Disinformation’

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EU Launches Investigation into X over Alleged 'Illegal Content, Disinformation'

The European Union has announced it has launched an investigation into free speech social media platform X for allegedly disseminating “illegal content and disinformation.”

On Monday, E.U. commissioner Thierry Breton posted on X:

“Today, we open formal infringement proceedings against @X.”

Breton said the social media platform is being investigated for “suspected breach of obligations to counter #IllegalContent and #Disinformation,” “suspected breach of #Transparency obligations,” and “suspected #DeceptiveDesign of user interface.”

The new probe marks the first the EU has launched against a social media company since its Digital Services Act was enacted in August.

The DSA regulates platforms with more than 45 million active monthly users in the EU. 

The regulations currently impact other social platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, Bing, and Google.

The DSA restrictions aim “to prevent illegal and harmful activities online and the spread of disinformation,” the EU said. 

The EU’s press release stated:

“X (formerly known as Twitter) has been designated as a Very Large Online Platform (VLOP) on 25 April 2023 under the EU’s Digital Services Act, following its declaration of having 112 million monthly active users in the EU as reported to the Commission on 17 February 2023.”

DSA regulations will be expanded to apply to all platforms in February 2024.

The formal proceedings against X will investigate whether the platform breached the DSA regulations by allowing alleged “illegal content in the context of Hamas’ terrorist attacks against Israel.”

The EU will also investigate X’s transparency measures and the “effectiveness” of its attempts to prevent “information manipulation,” specifically in its “Community Notes” feature.

The EU will examine X’s “suspected deceptive design of the user interface, notably in relation to checkmarks linked to certain subscription products, the so-called Blue checks.”

In September, X submitted a risk assessment report to the EU as part of its preliminary investigation and also replied to the EU’s request for information.

Breton stated:

“Today’s opening of formal proceedings against X makes it clear that, with the DSA, the time of big online platforms behaving like they are ‘too big to care’ has come to an end.”

“We now have clear rules, ex ante obligations, strong oversight, speedy enforcement, and deterrent sanctions and we will make full use of our toolbox to protect our citizens and democracies.”

“We will now start an in-depth investigation of X’s compliance with the DSA obligations concerning countering the dissemination and amplification of illegal content and disinformation in the EU, transparency of the platforms and design of the user interface.”

 X’s head of business operations, Joe Benarroch, told the New York Post:

“X remains 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,” Benarroch added.

READ: Ted Cruz: Elon Musk Buying Twitter Was ‘Single Most Important Step for Free Speech’

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