EU probes X over spread of Israel-Gaza disinformation, ‘terrorist’ content

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The European Union launched a probe Thursday into X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, over the handling of content about the war in Israel and Gaza.

The move to investigate the platform owned by Elon Musk is the most significant action taken by the EU under its new Digital Services Act, which aims to restrict the spread of illegal content and disinformation across social media platforms.

How Musk’s X is amplifying misinformation about Israel and Gaza

“The #DSA is here to protect both freedom of expression & our democracies — including in times of crisis. We have sent @X a formal request for information, a first step in our investigation to determine compliance with the DSA,” EU Commissioner Thierry Breton posted on X.

The European Commission probe comes after the commission received “indications” of the spread of illegal content and disinformation on X, “in particular the spreading of terrorist and violent content and hate speech,” according to the announcement.

The formal probe follows a warning letter the EU sent X Monday.

The Hill reached out to an X spokesperson for comment.

In response to the first letter, X CEO Linda Yaccarino published a letter Thursday morning about steps the platform has taken in response to the conflict.

Yaccarino said X has removed hundreds of accounts linked to Hamas after the attack, as well as “redistributed resources and refocused internal teams” and is “proportionately and effectively assessing and addressing identified fake and manipulated content during this constantly evolving and shifting crisis.”

False claims have spread across X since the Saturday launch of Hamas’s surprise attack on Israel. Examples inclulde posts of prior Israeli airstrikes being misrepresented as recent and false claims of the U.S. sending a multi-billion dollar aid package to Israel.

Critics and experts monitoring the situation said the changes to X under Musk have amplified concerns about the spread of disinformation during the conflict.

Under Musk, certain content moderation measures were rolled back.

Musk also overhauled the platform’s verification system by allowing users to pay for blue check marks and striping them from public figures. He additionally gave paying users options to monetize content, deepening concerns about attempts to spread misinformation.

The probe into X could be a critical test for the implementation of the EU’s Digital Services Act, which went into effect in August for large platforms.

The new law holds platforms responsible for the distribution of illegal content posted on their platforms.

Updated at 3:32 p.m.

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