European Union Commission targets X over ‘dissemination of illegal content’

X owner Elon Musk told advertisers on Nov. 29 to “f— yourself” after several deserted the social networking site because of antisemitic content. The European Commission announced the launch of official proceedings to examine X, previously Twitter, for content related to terrorist group Hamas’ attacks on Israel.

The commission stated in a Dec. 18 notification that it wanted to investigate whether X breached the Digital Services Act in its response to disinformation and unlawful content on the site. The government authority said X was being investigated for the effectiveness of its Community Notes remarks added to specific tweets to provide context, as well as for “mitigating risks to civic discourse and electoral processes.” According to the statement, “the opening of formal proceedings empowers the Commission to take further enforcement measures, including interim measures and non-compliance decisions.” “The Commission is also empowered to accept any commitment made by X to remedy the matters subject to the proceeding.”

The investigation will focus on X’s blue tick mark system, which the commission described as a “suspected deceptive design” on the platform. The European Commission also criticizes X’s efforts to boost data transparency on its platform as having “suspected shortcomings.” Following his purchase of Twitter in 2022, X owner Elon Musk adopted contentious practices at the social media behemoth, drawing condemnation from many long-time users and tech sector experts. Twitter’s trust and safety team was reduced, the number of content moderators was reduced, and the platform’s signature blue check verification system was replaced under the then-CEO.

Following Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7, Musk used his personal account to promote anti-Semitic content by reacting to a tweet advocating far-right conspiracy theories. In November, the watchdog group Media Matters published a report revealing that adverts for huge corporations may be found alongside pro-Nazi content on X under specific search parameters. Musk warned advertisers to “go f— yourself” during an interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin on Nov. 29, stating the exodus was “gonna kill the company.” After initiating a lawsuit against Media Matters, the social media site said it was “the platform for free speech,” claiming the group’s research did not reflect what the average X user views. Musk had not publicly commented on the European Commission investigation at the time of publishing. In the cryptocurrency community, the former Twitter CEO is well-known for his backing of Dogecoin and other tokens, as well as his Bitcoin acquisitions while managing Tesla and SpaceX.

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