Tech

EU begins investigation into X over suspected DSA breach

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The European Union (EU) has opened formal proceedings against Elon Musk’s X to investigate if it breached the bloc’s Digital Service Act (DSA) rules.

The probe, launched on Monday (Dec.18), will particularly scrutinize “the dissemination of illegal content in the context of Hamas’ terrorist attacks against Israel”.

In a statement released on the European Commission’s website, the EU said it would look at four key areas: dissemination of illegal content, the effectiveness of measures taken to combat information manipulation on X, the measures taken by X to increase the transparency of its platform and a suspected deceptive design of the user interface about its Blue check system.

“The higher the risk large platforms pose to our society, the more specific the requirements of the Digital Services Act are,” said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of a Europe Fit For The Digital Age commission.

She continued: “We take any breach of our rules very seriously. And the evidence we currently have is enough to formally open a proceeding against X. The Commission will carefully investigate X’s compliance with the DSA, to ensure European citizens are safeguarded online – as the regulation mandates.”

This is not the first time the Commission has targeted the social media platform around the Israel-Hamas war. In October, EU officials accused X of failing to curb the spread of disinformation and violent extremist content related to the conflict. Examples included posts celebrating the Hamas rocket attacks, calls for further violence targeting Israelis, and claims that Israel had staged “false flag” attacks to justify aggression against Palestinians.

What is the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA)?

The DSA is a key piece of legislation proposed by the EU aimed at creating a safer and more accountable online environment. What it aims to establish is a common set of responsibilities and transparency requirements for large platforms to create a safe online space for users in the EU’s 27 member countries.

As with any legislation, the devil is always in the details. Critics argue the DSA could be overly burdensome for small businesses, it’s vague and somewhat subjective and it risks over-regulating the tech sector in Europe and stifling innovation. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to defending civil liberties in the digital world, has argued full compliance with the DSA, “will mean subjecting everything that every user posts to scrutiny.”

With the action against X, the EU is signaling its willingness to take a hard line against big technology companies.

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market said: “The time of big online platforms behaving like they are “too big to care” has come to an end. We now have clear rules, ex-ante obligations, strong oversight, speedy enforcement, and deterrent sanctions and we will make full use of our toolbox to protect our citizens and democracies.”

Picture: Photo by Dušan Cvetanović/Pexels

Sam Shedden

Sam Shedden is an experienced journalist and editor with over a decade of experience in online news. A seasoned technology writer and content strategist, he has contributed to many UK regional and national publications.



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