Elon Musk just got an early, unwelcome Christmas present from Europe: the bloc’s first-ever investigation via its new social media rules into X.
On Monday, the European Commission opened Digital Services Act (DSA) infringement proceedings into X, formerly known as Twitter, after the billionaire and his company were subjected to repeated claims they were not doing enough to stop disinformation and hate speech from spreading online.
The four investigations, which do not constitute wrongdoing and will lead to a monthslong probe, focus on X’s failure to comply with rules to counter illegal content and disinformation as well as rules on transparency on advertising, data access for researchers and the misleading design of its user interface.
“The Commission will carefully investigate X’s compliance with the DSA, to ensure European citizens are safeguarded online — as the regulation mandates,” Margrethe Vestager, the Commission’s executive vice president responsible for digital policy, said in a statement.
“We now have clear rules, ex-ante obligations, strong oversight, speedy enforcement and deterrent sanctions and we will make full use of our toolbox to protect our citizens and democracies,” said the EU’s Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton.
DSA breaches can lead to fines of up to 6 percent of a company’s global revenue.
The Commission in October sent X a formal request for information about how it has tackled problematic content like graphic illegal content and disinformation linked to Hamas’ attack on Israel.
“X remains committed to complying with the Digital Services Act, and is cooperating with the regulatory process,” said Joe Benarroch, an X executive, in an email to POLITICO.
“It is important that this process remains free of political influence and follows the law. X is focused on creating a safe and inclusive environment for all users on our platform, while protecting freedom of expression, and we will continue to work tirelessly toward this goal.”
This article was updated to include new details.