EU Warns Elon Musk Over ‘Disinformation’ Spread on X After Hamas Attack

The European Union (EU) has issued a warning to Elon Musk, the owner of the social media platform X, regarding the alleged spread of “disinformation” following the recent Hamas attack on Israel. The EU’s industry chief, Thierry Breton, expressed concerns that “violent and terrorist content” had not been promptly removed from the platform, as required by EU law.

Elon Musk responded by stating that his company had already taken action, including removing newly-created Hamas-affiliated accounts. He requested the EU provide a list of the alleged violations to ensure transparency.

While Breton’s letter did not specify the disinformation in question, it mentioned instances of “fake and manipulated images and facts” circulating on the platform. Breton urged Musk to take effective measures and report on the crisis measures implemented by his team.

This exchange occurred in the context of a recent attack by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on Israel, leading to casualties and taking hostages. Israeli forces responded with missile strikes, resulting in a significant loss of life.

The EU has implemented the Digital Services Act (DSA) to protect users on major tech platforms like X. The law, which came into effect last November, is designed to hold companies accountable for the content on their platforms. Companies with over 45 million EU users are subject to the strictest rules under the DSA.

Under these rules, larger firms must assess potential risks related to their content, report those assessments, and take measures to address the issues. Failure to comply with the DSA could result in substantial EU fines, equivalent to up to 6% of a company’s global turnover, or even the suspension of services.

Musk’s acquisition of Twitter led to the dissolution of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council, a volunteer advisory group that had been in place since 2016, addressing issues like self-harm, child abuse, and hate speech. Musk’s focus on openness and transparency has led to this exchange with the EU regarding content moderation on X.