The European Commission has sent a warning to TikTok to remind it of its obligation to protect young people from “violent and terrorist content” in the context of the war between Israel and Palestine. Brussels goes further with X -former Twitter- which has just opened an investigation for alleged non-compliance with its legislation. And Meta, owner of Instagram and Facebook, announces its first measures to eliminate disinformation spread by the terrorist group Hamas. It is the chain of events that has occurred in the last few hours and that reflects the battle that Europeans are fighting intensely to confront the incessant flow of hoaxes that are circulating these days on the networks.
At the end of August, the European Union took a leap forward in the fight against fake news online. The Digital Services Act (DSA) thus became the first legislation in the world that forces digital platforms to remove hate content as soon as possible, to make its algorithms more transparent and to send routine reports with the evaluation and implementation of its measures to Berlaymont, headquarters of the European Commission. “Moderating content does not translate into censorship. There will not be a Ministry of Truth in Europe. What there will be will be transparency,” said Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, in response to the criticism and concerns that arose around the limits. of freedom of expression.
The DSA saw the light in the context of the war in Ukraine and the consequent explosion of disinformation that began to spread like wildfire through social networks. One of the first moves of the EU after the Russian invasion of its neighbor, now 600 days ago, was to ban the broadcast of the Russia Today and Sputnik channels, which Brussels classified as speakers of pro-Kremlin propaganda.. But the law was born especially motivated by the proximity of the elections to the European Parliament, which are held between June 6 and 9. Brussels fears interference from external powers such as Russia, as would have occurred in the US elections that brought Donald Trump to power in the United States in 2016.
But it has been the unexpected war in the powder keg of the Middle East, which began last Saturday with an unprecedented attack by the terrorist group Hamas on Jewish territory, which represents the first test test for the ambitious European law. Already in the early stages of the conflict, Europeans began to accuse an enormous dissemination of images of violence and illegal content spreading uncontrollably through the networks, especially in X. That is, violating the community acquis.
Thus began a direct and public exchange of accusations between the European commissioner and Musk, which has already been going on for a long time but has been redoubled in the current context. For now, Brussels has opened the first investigation into X within the framework of the DSA to assess whether it has complied with its obligations under European law. Community experts will now review whether The company has until October 18 to provide more data. Violating European law carries million-dollar fines that can reach up to 6% of the firms’ total income.