The EU Commission sent a formal request to X (Twitter) Thursday for information about the alleged spreading of illegal content and disinformation, specifically terrorist, violent content and hate speech. The formal request was made under the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), and follows indications received by the Commission services of the alleged mis/disinformation, in particular the spreading of terrorist and violent content and hate speech. The request addresses compliance with other provisions of the DSA as well.

The EU executive had, on delivering only last week its second set of reports on implementation of the EU’s Code of Practice on Disinformation, pointed out that X had the largest ratio of mis/disinformation posts. Even though it had pulled out of the (viluntary) code.  Following its designation as ‘Very Large Online Platform’ under the Digital Services Act, X is required to comply with the full set of provisions introduced by the DSA since late August 2023, including the assessment and mitigation of risks related to the dissemination of illegal content, disinformation, gender-based violence, and any negative effects on the exercise of fundamental rights, rights of the child, public security and mental well-being.

In this particular case, the Commission services are investigating X’s compliance with the DSA, including with regard to its policies and practices regarding notices on illegal content, complaint handling, risk assessment and measures to mitigate the risks identified. The Commission services are empowered to request further information to X in order to verify the correct implementation of the law.

X needs to provide the requested information to the Commission services by 18 October 2023 for questions related to the activation and functioning of X’s crisis response protocol and by 31 October 2023 on the rest. Based on the assessment of X replies, the Commission will assess next steps. This could entail the formal opening of proceedings pursuant to Article 66 of the DSA.

Pursuant to Article 74 (2) of the DSA, the Commission can impose fines for incorrect, incomplete or misleading information in response to a request for information. In case of failure to reply by X, the Commission may decide to request the information by decision. In this case, failure to reply by the deadline could lead to the imposition of period penalties.

The DSA is a cornerstone of the EU’s digital strategy and sets out an unprecedented new standard for the accountability of online platforms regarding disinformation, illegal content, such as illegal hate speech, and other societal risks. It includes overarching principles and robust guarantees for freedom of expression and other users’ rights.

On 25 April 2023, the Commission had designated 19 Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) and Very Large Search Engines (VLSEs) on the ground of their number of users above 45 million, or 10% of EU population. These services need to comply with the full set of provisions introduced by the DSA since the end of August 2023.

Source: EUbusiness

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