The European Union appears to be making its move against X, threatening to block the platform and hit it with massive fines over alleged “disinformation,” but the platform’s owner, Elon Musk, is requesting that the EU provide concrete examples to back up its claims.
Thierry Breton, the Commissioner for Internal Market of the European Union, has long threatened to take action against X with a wave of censorship, issued a public warning to Musk, claiming the platform failed to take action against illegal content related to Saturday’s Hamas terror attack on Israel. Breton threatened that Musk has 24 hours to respond to the claims being made.
Following the terrorist attacks by Hamas against 🇮🇱, we have indications of X/Twitter being used to disseminate illegal content & disinformation in the EU.— Thierry Breton (@ThierryBreton) October 10, 2023
Urgent letter to @elonmusk on #DSA obligations ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/avMm1LHq54
“Public media and civil society organisations widely report instances of fake and manipulated images and facts circulating on your platform in the EU, such as repurposed old images of unrelated armed conflicts or military footage that actually originated from video games. This appears to be manifestly false or misleading information,” Breton wrote.
Musk, however, is asking for specific examples to back the claim and responded directly to Breton’s tweet.
Our policy is that everything is open source and transparent, an approach that I know the EU supports.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 10, 2023
Please list the violations you allude to on 𝕏, so that that the public can see them.
Breton responded to Musk’s comment, claiming Musk is aware of the reports from “users” and authorities,” to which Musk responded that Breton should publish any reports openly on the platform. Breton has not responded and so far has kept the world community in the dark about the EU’s claims of disinformation.
We take our actions in the open.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 11, 2023
No back room deals.
Please post your concerns explicitly on this platform.
Musk also responded to another user, saying he had not seen anything substantiating the EU’s claims, writing: “Maybe it’s in the mail or something.”
I still don’t know what they’re talking about!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 11, 2023
Maybe it’s in the mail or something.
The word “soviet” just means “committee” in Russia, so the USSR was a committees of committees of committees …— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 11, 2023
Although much of the European public is likely unaware that the EU’s Digital Service Regulation (DSA) even exists, the law came into effect of August of this year, which gives the EU broad powers to censor entire social media platforms, hit them with huge fines representing up to 6 percent of global revenue, or outright ban the service.
Pulitizer-prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald detailed in an X thread the NGOs and fact-checkers behind the efforts to implement widespread censorship across the platform, which Musk has promoted as a space for free speech, even if critics say censorship is still commonplace.
The EU hired an Omidyar-funded firm ("Reset") that claims to be "disinformation experts". It issued a study accusing Big Tech platforms – especially X – of insufficiently censoring "pro-Russia propaganda."— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) October 10, 2023
The EU has a new censorship law and intends to use it to punish X: https://t.co/mjdSjypOfg
The EU may choose to proceed with fines first, as an outright ban could serve as a public relations debacle. Nevertheless, fines may be just as effective, if not more so, in bringing the platform down.