EU takes on Elon Musk’s X in first test of landmark law

EU takes on Elon Musk's X in first test of landmark law

The EU has opened formal proceedings against X, formerly Twitter, following concerns about disinformation, poor content moderation and other alleged breaches of the bloc’s new digital services law.

The announcement yesterday marks the first investigation of its kind under the landmark Digital Services Act (DSA), which came into force for so-called ‘very large online platforms’ earlier this year.

Coimisiún na Meán has said it will provide assistance to the European Commission in the course of the investigation.

The decision to open formal infringement proceedings follows a preliminary investigation which, among other things, concerned the dissemination of illegal content relating to the October 7th attacks by Hamas.

In a statement, the European Commission said the proceedings will focus on the following areas:

  • “The compliance with the DSA obligations related to countering the dissemination of illegal content in the EU, notably in relation to the risk assessment and mitigation measures adopted by X to counter the dissemination of illegal content in the EU, as well as the functioning of the notice and action mechanism for illegal content in the EU mandated by the DSA, including in light of X’s content moderation resources.”
  • “The effectiveness of measures taken to combat information manipulation on the platform, notably the effectiveness of X’s so-called ‘Community Notes’ system in the EU and the effectiveness of related policies mitigating risks to civic discourse and electoral processes.”
  • “The measures taken by X to increase the transparency of its platform. The investigation concerns suspected shortcomings in giving researchers access to X’s publicly accessible data as mandated by Article 40 of the DSA, as well as shortcomings in X’s ads repository.”
  • “A suspected deceptive design of the user interface, notably in relation to checkmarks linked to certain subscription products, the so-called Blue checks.”

Margrethe Vestager, the Commission’s executive vice-president for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, said: “The higher the risk large platforms pose to our society, the more specific the requirements of the Digital Services Act are.

“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.”

Thierry Breton, the commissioner for the internal market, added: “Today’s opening of formal proceedings against X makes it clear that, with the DSA, 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.

“We will now start an in-depth investigation of X’s compliance with the DSA obligations concerning countering the dissemination and amplification of illegal content and disinformation in the EU, transparency of the platforms and design of the user interface.”

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