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December 20, 2023

Unveiling the Investigation: EU Scrutinizes X Over Alleged Violations

The inquiry is suspected breaches of EU laws, targeting disinformation, illegal content, and transparency issues

In a bold move echoing growing concerns over digital platforms, the European Commission has officially launched formal infringement proceedings against the social media giant X, previously known as Twitter. The investigation revolves around suspected violations of the Digital Services Act (DSA), focusing on allegations of disinformation, illegal content, and transparency breaches. This pivotal decision follows recent calls for evidence regarding X's compliance with new EU laws targeting hate speech, racism, and fake news.

Under the DSA, companies risk fines amounting to 6% of their global income or EU-wide bans for breaches. Owned by the high-profile US entrepreneur Elon Musk, X faces scrutiny for its purported failure to counter illegal content and disinformation adequately. EU Commissioner Thierry Breton confirmed the formal proceedings, citing suspected deceptive design of user interface and transparency obligations, including concerns over the controversial "blue check" marks, now accessible through payment.

The investigation delves into the contentious issue of "blue check" marks, once reserved for public figures but now seemingly available to those willing to pay. Despite Musk's assurances to comply with the law, critics have pointed to the alleged presence of fake news and hate speech on X, particularly during the conflict between Hamas and Israel.

In response to the EU's formal letter regarding illegal content dissemination, X's CEO, Linda Yaccarino, asserted the company's commitment to addressing operational needs swiftly. She emphasized the platform's dedication to removing terrorist organizations and violent extremist groups in real-time. The European Commission, however, contends that X's mitigations may collectively be insufficient.

The EU's investigation extends to assessing whether X's search algorithms prioritize blue-tick accounts and inadvertently spread content users might mistake for verified sources. Additionally, concerns have been raised about X's compliance in European languages, with reports indicating limited investment and only one content moderator in the Netherlands.

As the European Commission takes decisive steps in this inquiry, the tech giant X finds itself under the microscope for alleged violations of crucial EU regulations. The investigation's scope encompasses the platform's responsiveness to illegal content, the impact of its community notes feature, and the overall efficacy of its design. While no specific timeline has been outlined, the EU's commitment to enforce the DSA remains unwavering, even in the event of X withdrawing services from the EU. As the proceedings unfold, the tech industry watches closely, anticipating potential shifts in regulatory dynamics and enforcement across social platforms.

Neil Hodgson Coyle
Neil Hodgson-Coyle
Editorial chief at TechNews180
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