EU Warns Elon Musk of Disinformation Spread on X Amidst Hamas-Israel Conflict

The European Union (EU) has issued a stern warning to Elon Musk regarding the alleged spread of “disinformation” through his platform, X, following the recent Hamas attack on Israel.

Thierry Breton, the Commissioner for the Internal Market of the European Union, publicly expressed concern that X failed to promptly remove “violent and terrorist content,” as mandated by EU law. The EU’s industry chief urged Musk to take immediate action and demanded transparency regarding the measures implemented to combat the crisis.


EU’s Accusations and Musk’s Response


Breton’s warning, shared on social media, highlighted instances of “fake and manipulated images and facts” circulating on X, emphasising the platform’s responsibility to address these concerns.

However, Breton refrained from specifying the exact nature of the disinformation. In response, Musk defended X’s policies, asserting the platform’s commitment to openness and transparency—a stance he claimed the EU supported. Musk challenged the EU to provide a detailed list of the alleged violations, showing a willingness to address the accusations.


The Context: Hamas-Israel Conflict


The EU’s warning came in the aftermath of a brutal attack launched by the Palestinian militant group, Hamas, on Israel. The conflict resulted in significant casualties, including thousands of residents killed and over 120 taken hostage.

In retaliation, Israeli forces initiated multiple waves of missile strikes on Gaza. The escalating violence intensified global concerns about the spread of false information, prompting the EU to scrutinise tech platforms, including X, for their role in spreading misleading content.



EU Digital Services Act (DSA)


The EU’s actions against X align with the Digital Services Act (DSA), a regulatory framework designed to safeguard users on major tech platforms. Implemented in November, the DSA requires companies to adhere to strict safety laws, telling companies with over 45 million EU users, including X, to assess potential risks, report their assessments, and implement measures to mitigate these risks.

Failure to comply with the DSA can result in substantial fines, reaching up to 6% of a company’s global turnover, or even suspension of services.


Musk’s Approach


Musk dissolved Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council shortly after acquiring the company in 2022. Comprising approximately 100 independent groups, the volunteer council had previously advised on critical issues such as self-harm, child abuse, and hate speech.

Musk’s decision raised concerns, with critics questioning the impact of this move on the platform’s ability to effectively combat disinformation and maintain a safe online environment.


What Now?


As the conflict in the Middle East rages on, the EU’s warning to Elon Musk shows the critical need for tech platforms to combat the spread of disinformation.

The call for transparency and accountability, especially in times of crisis, highlights the complex challenges faced by major tech companies like X. Moving forward, the world watches closely as these platforms navigate the balance between open discourse and the prevention of harmful content.