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Cracking Down on Illegal Content: EU Commission Takes Aim at X

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The European Commission said it had opened formal proceedings to investigate X — formerly Twitter — over content related to the terrorist group Hamas’ attacks against Israel.

In a Dec. 18 notice, the commission said it planned to assess whether X violated the Digital Services Act for its response to misinformation and illegal content on the platform. According to the government body, X was under investigation for the effectiveness of its Community Notes — comments added to specific tweets aimed at providing context — as well as policies “mitigating risks to civic discourse and electoral processes.”

“The opening of formal proceedings empowers the Commission to take further enforcement steps, such as interim measures, and non-compliance decisions,” said the notice. “The Commission is also empowered to accept any commitment made by X to remedy on the matters subject to the proceeding.”

The proceedings will include a look into X’s blue check mark system, which the commission described as a “suspected deceptive design” on the platform. According to the European Commission, there were also “suspected shortcomings” in X’s efforts to increase the transparency of the platform’s publicly available data.

X owner Elon Musk implemented controversial policies at the social media giant following his purchase of Twitter in 2022, receiving criticism from many long-time users and tech industry experts. The then-CEO was responsible for cutting Twitter’s trust and safety team, reducing the number of content moderators, and replacing the platform’s signature blue check verification system.

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Following the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel, Musk used his personal account to promote antisemitic content by replying to a tweet promoting far-right conspiracy theories. The watchdog group Media Matters released a report in November showing that advertisements on X for large firms were able to be featured alongside pro-Nazi content under certain search conditions.

During a Nov. 29 interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin, Musk told advertisers to “go f— yourself” following many leaving the platform, saying the exodus was “gonna kill the company.” The social media site claimed it was “the platform for free speech” after filing a lawsuit against Media Matters, alleging the group’s report did not reflect what the typical X user sees.

At the time of publication, Musk had not publicly commented on the European Commission investigation. The former Twitter CEO is known in the crypto space for pushing Dogecoin (DOGE) and other tokens, as well as his Bitcoin (BTC) purchases while heading Tesla and SpaceX.

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