EU cracks down on Israel-Hamas disinformation on social media

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The European Union (EU) is issuing stern warnings to tech giants such as X (formerly Twitter) and Facebook, demanding that they swiftly remove illegal content and disinformation from their platforms or face significant legal consequences.

This comes in the wake of escalating tensions between Israel and Hamas, which has led to a surge in misinformation on social media, including manipulated images and false videos.

EU industry chief Thierry Breton has personally reached out to tech moguls Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, urging them to take immediate action to curb disinformation and ensure compliance with European law.

Breton has given these companies a mere 24-hour deadline to demonstrate how they will stop the spread of harmful content. The European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, has also reminded all social media companies of their legal obligation to prevent the dissemination of harmful content associated with Hamas, categorizing it as terrorist content.

The EU’s recent implementation of the Digital Services Act (DSA) now requires major online platforms to not only remove illegal content but also take measures to protect public security and civic discourse. Failure to comply with the DSA could result in fines of up to 6% of a company’s global turnover, potentially leading to a ban from operating in Europe.

Germany’s Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency has also announced its departure from X due to an upsurge in hate speech, particularly since Elon Musk’s involvement. The agency criticized X for hosting anti-trans and homophobic hostility, racism, misogyny, anti-semitism, and other misanthropic content.

The sources for this piece include articles in Reuters, DW, CNBC, and BBC.

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