The social network X, formerly Twitter, says it's run into a surge of misinformation and violent, graphic content surrounding the Israel-Hamas war. Now European officials are criticizing the network's response, which has been hamstrung by cuts that owner Elon Musk made to the platform's content teams after he bought the company.
On Monday, X's safety team said it would mount a comprehensive response as traffic related to the war increased.
"As the events continue to unfold rapidly, a cross-company leadership group has assessed this moment as a crisis requiring the highest level of response. This means we’re laser focused and dedicated to protecting the conversation on X and enforcing our rules as we continue to assess the situation on the platform," the team wrote.
But regulators say manipulated media and misinformation are rampant on X right now, and include doctored images, media from earlier conflicts and even content taken from video games and passed off as factual information about the war.
The Digital Rights chief from the European Commission, which regulates the conduct of tech platforms in Europe, warned Musk in a Tuesday letter that the content and disinformation on X was illegal in the EU and required a prompt response.
The letter asked X to enforce its existing content moderation policies, promptly remove illegal content and address the impacts of disinformation that spread via the platform.
"Given the urgency, I also expect you to be in contact with the relevant law enforcement authorities and Europol, and ensure that you respond promptly to their requests," commissioner Thierry Breton wrote.
Elon Musk himself garnered criticism for removing the system of blue checks that allowed users to vet and verify sources on the platform. On Sunday he also posted about specific accounts that were sharing content about the war. Journalists and other experts pointed out the accounts had shared AI-generated images and antisemitic content. Musk later deleted his message.
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