The European Union is investigating social media company X over suspected violations of the Digital Services Act (DSA) in its first probe under the law.
“Today we open formal infringement proceedings against @X” under the Digital Services Act, European Commissioner Thierry Breton said Monday in a post on the platform formerly known as Twitter.
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“The Commission will now investigate X’s systems and policies related to certain suspected infringements,” spokesperson Johannes Bahrke said at a news briefing in Brussels. “It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.”
The investigation will look into whether X failed to do enough to curb the spread of illegal content and whether measures to combat ” information manipulation”, especially through its crowd-sourced Community Notes fact-checking feature, were effective.
The probe will also consider issues with user interface, deceptive use of “verified’ accounts and lack of access to researchers.
“X remains committed to complying with the Digital Services Act, and is cooperating with the regulatory process,” the company said in a statement.
“It is important that this process remains free of political influence and follows the law. X is focused on creating a safe and inclusive environment for all users on our platform, while protecting freedom of expression, and we will continue to work tirelessly towards this goal.”
Under the DSA, which became law in November last year, online platforms and search engines with more than 45 million active users must actively tackle illegal content and risks to public security and must protect their services against manipulative techniques.
The EU started its preliminary investigation in October with the start of Israel’s war with Hamas when EU industry chief Breton sent letters to X, Meta, TikTok and Alphabet reminding them of their obligations under the DSA to moderate harmful and illegal content.
The platforms responded by highlighting steps they have taken to stop disinformation on their platforms, but Musk challenged Breton over the disinformation charge.
The probe will focus on countering the dissemination of illegal content in the EU and the effectiveness of measures taken to combat information manipulation, including the “community notes” system, the commission said.
This year, X launched its Community Notes feature, which allows users to comment on posts to flag false or misleading content, in effect crowd-sourcing fact checking to users rather than a dedicated team of fact checkers.
The commission said it will now carry out an in-depth investigation by sending additional requests for information and conducting interviews and inspections, it said.
It will also review measures taken by X to increase transparency and a suspected deceptive design of the user interface, such as check marks linked to subscription products, the so-called blue checks, it said.
The commission said a preliminary investigation included an analysis of a report submitted by X in September, X’s transparency report published in November and X’s replies to a formal request for information about illegal content in connection to Hamas’s attacks against Israel.
The DSA imposes new rules on content moderation, user privacy and transparency. Any firm found in breach faces a fine worth up to 6 percent of its global turnover.