European Commission warns Twitter over spread of Russian disinformation

Vice President of the European Commission Věra Jourová called on tech giants, including Elon Musk’s Twitter (X), to take more responsibility for combating the spread of Russian disinformation.

Jourova: Russia had launched a “war of ideas”

Jourova said at a press conference that Russia had launched a “war of ideas” to pollute the European information networks with half-truths and lies and “create a false impression that democracy is no better than autocracy.”

The Vice-President of the European Commission called on Google, Microsoft, Meta, TikTok and other major platforms to resist Russian manipulation, “especially as the Kremlin and others will be active before the elections”.

X (Twitter) has withdrawn from the EU’s voluntary code on disinformation

She specifically mentioned X, which had previously withdrawn from the EU’s voluntary code on disinformation but is still subject to strict content monitoring rules under European law.

“Mr Musk knows he’s not off the hook by leaving the code (on disinformation – Ed.) because we now have the Digital Services Act, which applies in full. So my message to Twitter is that you must follow the strict law, and we will be watching what you do,” Yurova said.

European Commission’s study: X (Twitter) was used for spreading Russian propaganda

A study published by the European Commission in early September found that Elon Musk’s X (formerly Twitter) played an essential role in allowing Russian propaganda about Ukraine to reach more people than before the war.

The EU Digital Services Act, which came into force for the most significant social networks on 25 August, requires major platforms to assess the risk of spreading false information, prevent the worst from being promoted by algorithms, and subject their activities to audit.

Musk promised that Twitter will comply with EU anti-disinformation legislation

Twitter owner Elon Musk has said that the social network will comply with new EU legislation on countering disinformation when it comes into force. According to Le Figaro/AFP, he said this in an interview on France 2.

“Twitter will comply with the law. I repeat, if the law comes into force, Twitter will respect it,” Elon Musk said when asked about the new EU legislation on digital services (Digital Services Act).

The law will come into force on 25 August and obligates media platforms to respond quickly to questionable content. Fines for ignoring the law can reach up to 6% of a company’s global revenues.

At the end of May 2023, Musk decided that Twitter would not participate in the EU’s anti-disinformation code. Afterwards, European Commissioner Věra Jourová said that Twitter was “choosing confrontation”, and French Minister of Digitalisation Jean-Noël Barrot noted that a ban on the social network was not out of the question in case of disrespect for European rules.

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