On October 13, 2023, at 11:59 p.m., the European Union announced that, for the first time since the European Digital Services Act came into force, it had launched an official investigation against an online platform. This historic move is significant and raises many questions about the responsibility of online platforms in today’s digital world.
The allegations against X
EU Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton voiced harsh criticism of X, a social media service formerly known as Twitter and now operating under a new name. Breton stressed that the company had not taken sufficient action against the spread of misinformation in connection with Hamas’ attack on Israel. These accusations weigh heavily, as disinformation on the Internet poses a significant threat to society and, in this case, could further fuel the conflict in the Middle East.
Official investigation begins
The EU Commission has requested information from X as the first step in the official investigation. This marks the beginning of a thorough investigation to determine whether X has fulfilled its responsibility to combat disinformation and misinformation.
The response from X and Elon Musk
So far, X itself has not issued an official statement regarding the allegations. However, the owner of X, Elon Musk, has taken a stand on the platform itself. Musk emphasized that the EU has not provided any specific examples of disinformation so far. This could indicate a possible legal dispute between X and the EU.
The rise of misinformation
Since the outbreak of fighting in the Middle East, researchers have found that purposefully disseminated misinformation has greatly increased on various platforms, including X, TikTok, and the meta-services Facebook and Instagram. On X, in particular, this phenomenon seems to be the most widespread. This raises serious questions about the responsibility of online platforms, especially in times of international crises when disinformation can become a real threat to public safety.
The importance of the investigation
The investigation against X is being closely followed by many observers as it is seen as a precedent for the enforcement of the new EU laws on online platforms. The EU has decided to take decisive action against disinformation and hate speech online, and the results of this investigation will show whether these efforts can bear fruit.
The future of online platforms and their role in disseminating information is at stake, and the EU will act decisively to protect public safety and trust in the Internet. This case highlights the importance of taking action against disinformation and ensuring that online platforms fulfill their responsibilities to curb the spread of misinformation. The findings of this investigation could have far-reaching implications for the regulation and behavior of online platforms in the future.