A European Union official warned Elon Musk on Tuesday about allowing misinformation on his X social media platform about the war between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.
EU industry head Thierry Breton wrote a personal letter to Musk, which he also shared online, asking him to deal with the many reports of misinformation about the conflict that began with the surprise Hamas attack against Israel.
In the letter, Breton cited instances in which “repurposed images” from past military conflicts and even video games were being presented as having taken place in the deadly fighting of the last few days.
Musk responded to Breton’s X post saying that company policy is “open source and transparent” and asked Breton to list specific violations.
Breton’s no-nonsense reply: “You are well aware of your users’ — and authorities’— reports on fake content and glorification of violence. Up to you to demonstrate that you walk the talk,” he responded to Musk on X.
The EU’s Digital Services Act, which went into effect in August, now requires that large online platforms remove illegal content and to take steps to prevent risks to public security.
On Sunday, Musk recommended that his 160 million X followers follow two accounts for updates on the Gaza−Israel conflict — until CNN journalist Jake Tapper proved one of them has a history of antisemitic content. Musk later deleted the tweet.
Breton also told Musk in the letter that he expects him to be in contact with “relevant law enforcement authorities and Europol” and to “respond promptly to their requests.” He gave Musk a 24-hour deadline for a “prompt, accurate and complete response” to his request and warned he could face penalties if X is in not in compliance with the Digital Services Act.
According to Reuters, Musk could be facing fines of as 6% of the company’s global turnover.
On Tuesday, Musk’s focus was on touting X’s improvements to the “community notes” feature, which lets users add more context to certain posts. He boasted that notes would now be rolling out faster than ever.