April 19, 2024

EU Launches Investigation into X's Content Practices

In a significant move, the European Union has initiated a formal investigation into X regarding its content moderation practices. This inquiry takes place under the Digital Services Act (DSA), which has been enacted recently. It can result in the social media platform potentially shelling out substantial fines or penalties for its inefficiency.

A prominent figure in European digital regulation, Thierry Breton, took to X while stating the suspected infringements. He focussed on the inefficiency of X in handling content related to the conflict between Hamas and Israel, along with the launch of the paid verification system. EU officials further labeled it as a “suspected deceptive design”.

As a part of this investigation, officials will explore different aspects. This includes the crowdsourced programs of X to check facts — Community Notes. The effectiveness of this program in drawing a line of defense against misinformation on electoral processes and civic disclosures will also be evaluated.

Breton expressed the necessity to scrutinize whether or not the social media giant complied with legal obligations while fighting the publication of disinformation and illegal content by its users.

In case X is found guilty of violating the norms, its fines can be as high as 6% of its global annual revenues.

Besides, this inquiry is supposed to examine whether or not X provided independent researchers with adequate data. Thus, Musk’s strategy of adhering to the prescribed norms in the DSA will come into the spotlight.

Recently, X announced a new fee for granting access to data, which will also be scrutinized. Academics studying misinformation and extremism dubbed this move “outrageously expensive”.

Initially, this fee was applicable on all the accounts, which threatened public service updates to be disseminated on the platform. Later, Musk waived it off for government accounts.

In the past, Breton had issued warnings to X and other social media platforms about the stringent monitoring system of the EU along with the impact of their legal compliance.

X Responds to EU’s Announcement

In response to the announcement made by the EU, X expressed its intentions to cooperate with the investigative process. The platform also stated that it will remain compliant with DSA norms.

X is focused on creating a safe and inclusive environment for all users on our platform while protecting freedom of expression, and we will continue to work tirelessly towards this goal.X

This is the first formal investigation being carried out under the DSA, which marks the determination of the EU to impose strict norms on major tech companies.

The controversy brings the reputation of X under the scanner as it continues to face challenges regarding the spread of disinformation. Ever since Musk took over the company, its standing has undergone a significant shift.

With a substantial reduction in staff, concerns have raged about the publication of extremist content on the platform. This has even triggered an advertisement boycott on X in the US.

Therefore, the outcome of the investigation by the EU is likely to have a far-reaching impact on the content moderation strategies of this social media platform.


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