X, previously known as Twitter, received a direct and stern open letter from European Commissioner Thierry Breton, accusing the platform of failing to address disinformation and illegal content related to the recent Israel-Hamas conflict. In response, X CEO Linda Yaccarino issued a lengthy letter acknowledging the company’s efforts to combat the issue, however, it fell short on presenting specific numbers regarding X’s actions.
X CEO Linda Yaccarino responded to the EU’s concerns over the dissemination of disinformation and illegal content related to the Israel-Hamas conflict. While Yaccarino acknowledged the removal of thousands of pieces of content and emphasized efforts to address the issue, the response lacked specific numbers and omitted mention of significant problems witnessed on the platform. The EU’s letter sets a precedent for the implementation of its content moderation policies, which place obligations on large online platforms like X, despite recent user migration.
Redistributed Resources and Refocused Teams
In her response, Yaccarino mentioned that X is complying with law enforcement requests, but as of writing, had not received any requests from Europol specifically.
Omissions and Challenges
A noteworthy omission from Yaccarino’s letter was the lack of acknowledgement and addressing of the graphic videos of the terrorist attacks on civilians and the circulation of false posts related to the conflict. Furthermore, the CEO did not mention Elon Musk’s recommendation of an account known for spreading antisemitic content, which had caused significant controversy. This failure to address prominent issues on the platform does raise concerns.
Yaccarino’s response follows the European Commissioner’s similar letter to Meta, which also emphasized the need to combat harmful content. Meta, the parent company of X, has assembled its own team to address the issue and is likely to directly correspond with the Commissioner in a similar manner.
The Role of Community Notes
Due to staffing shortages in areas such as content moderation, X has placed a significant emphasis on Community Notes to monitor and regulate platform content. Yaccarino briefly touched on this topic, mentioning that over 700 Community Notes related to the Israel-Hamas conflict have been observed among tens of millions of total Community Notes viewed in the past four days (although this number encompasses various subjects, not solely Israel). The letter did not clarify whether this signifies relatively fewer Israel-Hamas content or emphasizes the overall platform activity.
Yaccarino also highlighted that over 5,000 posts containing matching videos and other media have been generated through the platform’s “notes on media” feature. When these posts are shared, the number of matching content increases. The approval time for notes is approximately five hours from their creation, although efforts are underway to expedite the process for media-related notes.
The letter from Commissioner Breton signals the EU’s intention to enforce its newly introduced content moderation policies outlined in the Digital Services rulebook. These policies place special obligations on large online platforms like X, despite recent user migration following X’s rebranding from Twitter. Although disinformation is not illegal in the EU, X is now legally obliged to mitigate the risks associated with fake news and promptly respond to reports of illegal content.