The Battle Against Online Misinformation: X Responds to EU Concerns

In the era of social media, the spread of misinformation and disinformation has become a pressing issue. As the Israel-Hamas conflict unfolded, it became apparent that online platforms like X (formerly known as Twitter) played a significant role in amplifying false narratives and inflammatory content. The European Union (EU) has raised concerns about X’s failure to combat illegal content and disinformation, leading to a tense exchange between X CEO Linda Yaccarino and EU Commissioner Thierry Breton. Yaccarino asserts that X has taken action to remove Hamas-affiliated accounts and tackle tens of thousands of pieces of inappropriate content. However, questions remain about the efficacy of X’s moderation policies and the platform’s ability to protect public security.

Linda Yaccarino’s response to the EU’s concerns outlined the steps taken by X to address the proliferation of misinformation surrounding the Israel-Hamas conflict. Following the Hamas attack, X formed a leadership group to evaluate the situation and modify the platform’s moderation policies. Yaccarino highlighted X’s commitment to removing violent speech and content associated with violent and hateful entities, addressing over 80 takedown requests from the EU promptly.

While X’s CEO emphasized the platform’s use of Community Notes and the display of over 700 unique notes related to the attacks, a report from NBC News exposed the limitations of this volunteer-powered system. Community notes often faced substantial delays in approval and, in some cases, were never labeled appropriately, casting doubt on X’s ability to effectively combat misinformation.

Elon Musk’s ownership of X has raised eyebrows, especially considering the sweeping changes implemented within the platform. Musk’s influence led to significant reductions in moderation teams, the reinstatement of previously banned accounts, and the dissolution of X’s Trust and Safety Council. Additionally, Musk’s recommendation to follow accounts known for spreading misinformation about the conflict further calls into question X’s commitment to combating false narratives.

The EU’s concerns over X’s handling of illegal content and disinformation prompted Commissioner Thierry Breton to remind the platform of its responsibilities under the Digital Services Act (DSA). The DSA imposes obligations on large online platforms to remove illegal content promptly and address risks to public security. Breton has also reached out to Meta (formerly Facebook) to ensure compliance with the DSA.

X’s CEO, Linda Yaccarino, expressed the platform’s commitment to proactive measures against misinformation and illegal content. However, doubts about X’s transparency and effectiveness persist. Musk’s demand for Breton to publicly identify specific violations on the platform underscores the need for greater accountability and transparency from X.

As the EU awaits X’s response, the possibility of an investigation and potential fines loom over the platform. The outcome of this ongoing battle between X and the EU will shape the future of online platforms’ responsibility to combat misinformation effectively.

The clash between X and the European Union highlights the urgent need for online platforms to combat the spread of misinformation and protect public security. While X has taken some steps to address the concerns raised, lingering questions remain about the effectiveness of its moderation policies and the platform’s commitment to transparency. As society grapples with the challenges of the digital age, it is crucial that platforms like X take decisive action to prevent the dissemination of illegal content and disinformation, ensuring a more secure and informed online environment. Only through collective efforts can we overcome the threat posed by misinformation and, ultimately, safeguard our societies.


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