The European Union has given Meta and X just 24 hours to remove misinformation and disinformation from their platforms about the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Lead image L-R: Mark Zuckerberg, Meta CEO and founder; Elon Musk, owner and chief technology officer, X.
The incredibly short timeframe follows warnings from the supernational body about the content on the platforms as it violates its Digital Services Act.
“I urgently invite you to ensure that your systems are effective,” Breton wrote in the letter, asking Zuckerberg to respond within the next 24 hours.
Breton told Musk that he also had 24 hours to remove the content and said, “When you receive notices of illegal content in the EU, you must be timely, diligent and objective in taking action and removing the relevant content when warranted. We have, from qualified sources, reports about potentially illegal content circulating on your service despite flags from relevant authorities.
“After the terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israel on Saturday, we quickly established a special operations center staffed with experts, including fluent Hebrew and Arabic speakers, to closely monitor and respond to this rapidly evolving situation,” a Meta spokesperson told CNBC.
“Our teams are working around the clock to keep our platforms safe, take action on content that violates our policies or local law, and coordinate with third-party fact checkers in the region to limit the spread of misinformation. We’ll continue this work as this conflict unfolds.”
Musk, however, told Breton on Twitter that “Our policy is that everything is open source and transparent, an approach that I know the EU supports.
“Please list the violations you allude to on 𝕏, so that that the public can see them.”
We take our actions in the open.
No back room deals.
Please post your concerns explicitly on this platform.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 11, 2023
The proliferation of misinformation and disinformation online is a huge potential problem for advertisers. Jewish activist group, the Anti-Defamation League has already said that X has a problem with hate speech.
“The truth is there is a problem on the platform,” the League’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told MSNBC last month.
“It is not unique to Twitter but Twitter has uniquely in the last six to nine months brought on all these different extremists and anti-semites.”
Advertisers have pulled huge spend on the platform following Musk’s takeover and the funds do not seem to have returned, despite the platform introducing brand safety tools developed by Integral Ad Science.
Musk swung the axe on most of X’s existing content moderation team when he took over and has instead preferred to rely on crowd-sourced Community Notes on posts to highlight misinformation.
On Meta, meanwhile, which is heavily reliant on advertising dollars, the problem is being taken more seriously. It also introduced AI-powered brand safety controls back in March.
However, with no end in sight to the conflict, it seems as though the problem of mis- and disinformation on the platforms will persist.