EU launches investigation into Musk’s X over disinformation concerns

The EU’s request for information on X marks the commencement of the investigation, with a deadline of October 18 for details on the crisis response protocol and October 31 for information on other matters.

 Text, Symbol

EU industry chief Thierry Breton has initiated an investigation into Elon Musk’s platform, X, marking the first such action under new EU tech regulations. Before Hamas attacked Israel, Breton had criticized X, TikTok, and Meta for their inadequate efforts to combat disinformation.

All three platforms have experienced a surge in false information about the Israel-Hamas conflict, with X being the most problematic. The investigation amplifies pressure on these platforms to adhere to the Digital Services Act (DSA) implemented last November and remove illegal and harmful content.

X CEO Linda Yaccarino stated that they had already removed numerous Hamas-affiliated accounts and taken steps to address tens of thousands of pieces of content. The EU’s formal request for information on X signals the beginning of the investigation. Details on the crisis response protocol are due by October 18, while information on other issues must be submitted by October 31.

Elon Musk responded by stating that the EU had not provided any examples of disinformation. Breton had also issued similar warnings to TikTok and Meta earlier this week.

Why does it matter?

Despite the surge in disinformation following the Hamas attack, previous actions by X may shed light on why it is considered the most problematic. Elon Musk’s restriction of academic access has hindered research efforts. Coupled with a significant workforce reduction from 7,500 to approximately 1,500 and the loss of key safety personnel, this has had repercussions on content moderation and campaign identification.

During the 54th UN Human Rights Council session, Article 19 emphasized the harm caused by war propaganda, adding context to X’s challenges in addressing disinformation and the potential consequences of ineffective action during these times.