EU initiates 'formal investigation' targeting X

X in the European Commission's crosshairs Visitors: 43 ★★★★

Brussels has launched a "formal investigation" into social network X (formerly Twitter) for alleged violations of European content moderation and transparency rules, the first under eu's new Digital Services Act (DSA).

While X is not yet "guilty", the European Commission, now playing the role of digital gendarme, is concerned about the methods used to identify and exclude dangerous publications.

The list of complaints is long and will be scrutinized: few moderators, effective reporting of illegal content, insufficient warning messages about violent images, giving regulators.

There are even blue badges attached to certain accounts, tricking Internet users into believing a certified id. Or notes added by a community of users to retext information, but too few in some languages.

Gone are the days when "big online platforms acted as if they were too big to care about rules", said EU Digital Commissioner Thierry Breton, stressing that the new law allows them to "protect citizens and democracy".

X promises to cooperate

On Monday, X said it remained "committed to the rules" and promised to cooperate. It is important that this process remain free of political influence", he stressed in a message posted on the platform.

The DSA does not define what constitutes illegal content, a concept primarily defined by national or other European legislation. However, it does impose a number of obligations, including a commitment to act "promptly" to remove content deemed illegal and to regularly suspend users who violate the ban.

The Commission had already announced to Oct. 12 that it has opened preliminary proceedings for "false news", "violent and terrorist content", and "hate speech" against billionaire Elon Musk's social network, five days after the Hamas attack on Israel.

This first step consisted of a request for information to verify the platform's compliance.

The answers provided by the US company and the "transparency report" released in early November to review deterrence did not persuade European officials, who now have oversight and sanctioning authority.

The DSA fines the indicted groups up to 6% of their worldwide turnover. Serious and repeated violations could even result in the platform being banned from operating in the EU.

"Collection of Evidence"

With the start of the "formal" proceedings, the Commission explained that it will continue to "collect evidence" by requesting new information from X, conducting interviews, and conducting checks.

In this connection, the Committee may take steps to bring x into compliance with the rules or accept any remedies that may be offered by the platform.

No time limit has been set for the current investigation. In particular, it concerns "the dissemination of illegal content and misinformation", stressed Thierry Breton.

The DSA has already launched various preliminary investigations on different topics against Apple, Google, Meta (Facebook, Instagram), TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube, or Amazon. But the procedure launched on Monday against x is unprecedented and underscores the particular concerns of European regulators on this issue.

Brussels has already expressed concerns about the level of misinformation about x in late September, saying its performance was particularly poor in tests conducted on several platforms.

After buying Twitter last year, Elon Musk ran a massive wave of layoffs and eliminated the moderator team. While he assures that he respects the laws of all countries, he regularly reiterates his vision of free speech and rejects "censorship".

In November, the Commission demanded that its service suspend its advertising campaign on X. This was also justified by the "alarming increase in misinformation and hate speech" on the platform.

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