EU takes action against X over illegal content and disinformation

It might be ending 2023 with a new name, but X (formerly Twitter) is also capping off a year of criticism and legal action with even more condemnation. The European Commission has announced it’s opening formal infringement proceedings into X’s operation and potential violations of the Digital Services Act (DSA). Thierry Breton, the European commissioner for internal market ironically shared the news on X, detailing the platform’s suspected breach of obligations to be transparent and to counter illegal content. X’s potentially “deceptive design” is also being investigated.

In February 2023, all online services operating in the EU had to declare their size to determine if they were a Very Large Online Platform (VLOP). A VLOP is any platform with over 45 million users across the EU. Any company designated as a VLOP had four months to comply with the DSA. These measures include establishing a specific point of contact, transparency in advertising and content moderation and clear, user-friendly terms and conditions. It also requires identifying and mitigating risks such as illegal content, gender-based violence and protecting minors. Other logistical stipulations include permitting vetted researchers to access data that informs about systemic risks in the EU, sharing data with the Commission and having an independent audit annually.

The Commission’s actions follow a risk assessment report X submitted in September, a transparency report the platform published in November and ongoing concerns about how X is handling — or mishandling, for that matter — content about the Israel-Hamas War. Breton sent a letter to Elon Musk about the platform’s responsibility to moderate posts in line with the DSA. The European Union opened an investigation into X’s handling shortly after.

In a statement, Breton explained that the newly announced proceedings show “the time of big online platforms behaving like they are ‘too big to care’ has come to an end.” He continued: “We now have clear rules, ex ante obligations, strong oversight, speedy enforcement, and deterrent sanctions and we will make full use of our toolbox to protect our citizens and democracies.” This instance marks the first time the Commission has opened formal proceedings to enforce these EU regulations.

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This post originally appeared on TechToday.