Written by 8:24 pm Science & Technology Views: [tptn_views]

Europe warns Elon Musk about misinformation and violence on X , formerly Twitter, related to Hamas-Israel conflict

X CEO Elon Musk leaves a U.S. Senate bipartisan Artificial Intelligence Insight Forum on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 13, 2023.

Mandel Ngan | Afp | Getty Images

A European regulator has issued Elon Musk a stern warning in regards to the spread of illegal content and disinformation on X, formerly often known as Twitter, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict. Failure to comply with the European regulations around illegal content could lead to fines price 6% of an organization’s annual revenue.

Thierry Breton, the European commissioner for the interior market, said in a letter addressed to Musk on Tuesday that his office has “indications” that groups are spreading misinformation and “violent and terrorist” content on X, and urged the billionaire to reply inside a 24-hour period.

The letter comes after quite a few researchers, news organizations and other groups have documented an increase of misleading, false and questionable content on X, creating confusion in regards to the current conflict.

Breton shared his letter via an X post, tagging Musk’s handle and including a hashtag that refers back to the Digital Services Act, the newly enacted laws by the European Commission — the chief arm of the European Union — that requires platforms with greater than 45 million monthly lively users within the EU to observe for and take down illegal content in addition to detail their protocols for doing so.

He reminded Musk within the letter that the DSA “sets very precise obligations regarding content moderation,” and that X needs “to be very transparent and clear on what content is permitted under your terms and consistently and diligently implement your individual policies.”

The commissioner said that recent “changes in public interest policies” caused confusion in “many European users.” Breton appeared to be referring to a change that X remodeled the weekend to its public interest policy that influences whether the corporate decides to go away certain posts available for everybody to see despite the messages violating policy rules.  

“Public media and civil society organisations widely report instances of faux and manipulated images and facts circulating in your platform within the EU, comparable to repurposed old images of unrelated armed conflicts or military footage that truly originated from video games,” the letter said. “This appears to be manifestly false or misleading information.”

Breton said that he wants Musk to be sure that X’s “systems are effective” and “report on the crisis measures taken to my team.”

He added that he expects X “to keep in touch with the relevant law enforcement authorities and Europol, and be sure that you respond promptly to their requests.”

“I remind you that following the opening of a possible investigation and a finding of non-compliance, penalties may be imposed,” Breton wrote.

X didn’t immediately reply to CNBC’s request for comment.

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