The European Commission has lost patience with X, the former Twitter, and opened an investigation against the social network after detecting signs that it is not doing enough to combat disinformation. After a preliminary analysis, which for example investigated “the dissemination of illegal content in the context of terrorist attacks against Israel”, Brussels found indications that the company acquired last year by Elon Musk would not comply with its obligations. that European regulations envisage against these practices. Consequently, The Community Executive reported having asked its technicians to investigate to corroborate these indications.. The case may result in a maximum penalty equivalent to 6% of the company’s annual turnover and even as a last resort. temporary suspension of the service provided may be required.
Last September, X sent Brussels an analysis of the risks posed by its activity in order to comply with the regulations on digital services in September. A few weeks later, on October 12, more information was requested from the Commission, as it was considered one of the large digital platforms with additional obligations compared to others due to the greater impact of its activity. Once all the documentation has been analyzed, it becomes clear that the explanations of this social network have not convinced the Community Executive, which has taken a new step by opening a formal investigation.
The former Twitter is not known for its collaboration with European authorities in their fight against disinformation. In fact, it does not participate in the half-yearly report on compliance with the code of good practice, which is voluntary. Other major digital giants like Google, Meta (parent company of Facebook), TikTok or Microsoft are participating, but not X. This decision has already earned him criticism from the European Commission, which warned him that by abandoning the code, it does not get rid of complying with the law, which is nevertheless obligatory.
The Commission’s investigations, according to the press release announcing the opening of the file, will focus on several aspects of subscription (i.e. paid), therefore -called blue check“.
Of course, the investigation will also focus on what the American company is doing to stop the dissemination of illegal content, “in particular with regard to the risk assessment and the mitigation measures adopted (…) as well as the mechanism for notification and enforcement of illegal activities. content ordered by regulations. Community technicians can also be particularly vigilant in the measures that the platform deploys to combat the manipulation of information and thus mitigate “the risks to civic discourse and electoral processes”. Vigilance against false or manipulated information during electoral processes has become an obsession in Brussels for months. Warnings from those responsible for these practices, which are highly developed by Russia, have become a common refrain whenever they address the issue, particularly after the invasion of Ukraine and with the rise of the far right.
The European Commission itself warns that there is no minimum or maximum time frame for carrying out investigations, that its task will now be to collect evidence, request information from X and carry out inspections. And it also specifies that the investigation can end without sanction if the preliminary conclusions are not verified.
“The greater the risk that large platforms pose to our society, the more specific the requirements of the Digital Services Act. We take any violation of our rules very seriously. And the evidence we currently have is sufficient to formally initiate proceedings against X,” said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President and Head of Competition.
The other political leader of the College of Commissioners of this investigation, Thierry Breton, influenced this idea by declaring that “the opening this Monday of a formal procedure against as if they were too big to worry is finished. We have clear rules and obligations ex antestrict monitoring, rapid enforcement and dissuasive sanctions, and we will use them fully to protect our citizens and our democracies.