The European Union has launched an investigation into social media platform X, led by Elon Musk, for suspected breaches of transparency obligations and failure to combat content disinformation and manipulation.
EU Opens First Probe under Digital Services Act
The European Union has initiated an investigation into social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, over alleged violations of the new Digital Services Act (DSA), marking the first such probe under this regulation.
Breach of Transparency Obligations and Duties
The EU’s regulator, Thierry Breton, cited suspected breaches of X’s transparency obligations and its duties to counter illegal content and disinformation, along with concerns regarding the platform’s user interface design, particularly related to its ‘blue checks.’
Response from X
In response to the investigation, X, led by Elon Musk, provided a brief email response stating ‘Busy now, please check back later.’ The European Commission launched the proceedings based on preliminary investigations and X’s submissions, including a risk assessment report and transparency report.
Digital Services Act Requirements
The DSA, which took effect in November 2022, mandates large online platforms like X to mitigate disinformation risks, remove hate speech, and uphold freedom of expression. Violations could result in fines of up to 6% of global annual revenues for companies found guilty.
Focus of Formal Infringement Proceedings
The formal infringement proceedings will scrutinize X’s compliance with countering illegal content dissemination, combating information manipulation, and enhancing transparency. Furthermore, the investigation will address the alleged deceptive design of X’s user interface, particularly regarding ‘blue checks.’
Warnings and Ongoing Investigations
Prior to the probe, Breton had cautioned social media platforms about disinformation and violent posts related to the Israel-Hamas conflict. The European Commission informed that evidence gathering will continue, emphasizing that there is no legal deadline for concluding the formal proceedings.
Additional Complaint and Allegations against X
Alongside the current investigation, X faces a separate complaint from privacy activist Max Schrems, who accused the platform of unlawfully using individuals’ political views and religious beliefs to target them with ads, allegedly violating EU rules.