The European Union increased its scrutiny of Big Tech companies by demanding on Thursday that Meta and TikTok detail the efforts they are making to combat illegal content and disinformation during the Israel-Hamas war.
The European Commission, which is made up of the 27-nation bloc’s executive branch, formally requested that the social media companies give them details on how they plan to comply with sweeping new digital rules that are aimed to clean up online platforms.
The commission asked Meta and TikTok to lay out the measures they have taken so far to reduce the risk of spread and amplification of terrorist and violent content as well as hate speech and disinformation.
The new rules took effect in August and caused the biggest tech companies to face extra obligations in stopping the wide range of illegal content from thriving on their platforms or they are faced with the possibility of hefty fines.
Photos and videos of the carnage from the Israel-Hamas war as well as posts that are pushing false claims and misrepresenting videos from other events have flooded social media and are putting the new rules, known as the Digital Services Act, to the test.
Misinformation on X
According to The Associated Press, Brussesl was the first to issue a formal request last week under DSA to the platform X, formerly known as twitter.
There was a letter sent to the three platforms and YouTube that highlighted the risk the war posed by European Commissioner Thierry Breton, the bloc’s digital enforcer.
During a speech on Wednesday Breton said, “in our exchanges with the platforms, we have specifically asked them to prepare for the risk of live broadcasts of executions by Hamas — an imminent risk from which we must protect our citizens — and we are seeking assurances that the platforms are well prepared for such possibilities.”
Companies have until Wednesday to respond to questions pertaining to their crisis response. In addition, there is a second deadline on Nov. 8 for answers on how they plan to protect election integrity and child safety.
Based on their response Brussels then has a chance, if they decide to, to open formal proceedings against Meta or TikTok to impose fines for “incorrect, incomplete, or misleading information,” Breton said.
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