- European Commission member Thierry Breton has written to Elon Musk requesting he detail how X is battling disinformation.
- The commission believes that X is being used to disseminate illegal content.
- Breton has given Musk 24 hours to respond to his commission’s questions.
At the weekend, war broke out between Israel and Hamas following an attack by the former. Since then the situation has worsened and those looking for information on Twitter, now known as X, have been left wanting.
The platform which was once the destination for those looking for accurate information from people on the ground has become something else. As the situation in Israel and Gaza deteriorated, X was awash with old videos claiming to be current, false statements, and propaganda.
Many believe that this was spurred on by the fact that X has taken to paying a share of advertising revenue to Verified subscribers based on how well their posts perform. This in turn pushes folks to post more controversial content in hopes of it going viral.
It’s not only users who have noticed the spike in disinformation and propaganda at the weekend, the European Commission has noticed it as well.
“Dear Mr Musk, 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,” member of the European Commission, Thierry Breton wrote in a letter.
The EC member went on to outline the obligations X has under the Digital Services Act (DSA). This includes transparency about what content is allowed on X, that action be taken against content that violates the platform’s rules be dealt with swiftly and that mitigation measures to tackle the risks disinformation presents to the public be put in place and enforced.
“Public media and civil society organisation widely report instances of fake an manipulated images and faces circulating on your platform in the EU, such as repurposed old images of unrelated armed conflicts or military footage that actually orginated from video games. This appears to be manifestly false or misleading information,” wrote Breton.
The commission member went on to give Musk 24 hours to “ensure that your systems are effective, and report on crisis measures”.
Of course, Musk being who he is, responded to Breton on the platform he spent far too much money on.
“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 , so that that [sic] the public can see them,” wrote Musk, forgetting that as a Verified user, he can edit posts.
However, Breton didn’t ignore Musk and move on.
“You are well aware of your users’ — and authorities’— reports on fake content and glorification of violence. Up to you to demonstrate that you walk the talk. My team remains at your disposal to ensure DSA compliance, which the EU will continue to enforce rigorously,” the commission member said.
Earlier on Tuesday, X detailed how it was responding to the surge in content circulating around the conflict.
Below that post however, users have alleged that posts threatening violence, posts with disinformation and propaganda continue to find their way onto X where they remain.
One of the things X highlights as a win is that Community Notes are visible faster than ever before but, in all honesty, the platform looks to be fighting a losing battle.
“More than 500 unique notes relating to the attacks and unfolding events are being shown on X,” the Community Notes account on X wrote. That is an awfully tiny number and while one could argue there isn’t that much disinformation circling about, one only needs to open X to discover that isn’t the case.
It doesn’t help that Musk himself has promoted accounts that push propaganda and disinformation, all the while, slamming journalists who dare question his decisions and X’s “freedom of speech not freedom of reach” policy.