EU warns Elon Musk about misinformation

Emre Çitak
Oct 11, 2023

Social media platforms have transformed into powerful tools for information dissemination. They can be harnessed for good, but they can also be exploited to spread disinformation and illegal content.

Recent events have put the spotlight on one of the tech giants, formerly known as Twitter, which is now Elon Musk's X. The European Union has issued an urgent warning to Elon Musk’s X over its alleged role in spreading illegal content and disinformation following the Hamas attacks on Israel.

This cautionary move by the EU raises critical questions about the role and responsibility of social media platforms in today's world.

EU warns Elon Musk

In the aftermath of the Hamas attacks on Israel, the EU accused the platform of disseminating illegal content and disinformation, including fake news and misinformation related to the attacks.

Thierry Breton, the EU's commissioner for the internal market, voiced his concerns about the potential harm caused by these actions, bringing to light the pressing issue of regulating online content and ensuring that social media platforms actively combat harmful information.

One of the key concerns is the impact of disinformation on public safety and security. When false or misleading information is widely shared on social media, it can lead to panic, violence, and other harmful consequences. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, social media platforms were used to spread misinformation about the virus and vaccines, which led to vaccine hesitancy and a decrease in vaccination rates.

Another concern is the impact of disinformation on democratic processes. When voters are exposed to false information about candidates and issues, it can undermine their ability to make informed decisions at the ballot box. For example, in the lead-up to the 2016 US presidential election, social media platforms were used to spread disinformation about Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, which may have influenced the outcome of the election.

Read alsoRecent Facebook research points to a black hole in the platform.

X's responsibility

This warning from the EU brings us to the pivotal issue of the responsibility of social media platforms. As powerful information gatekeepers, platforms like Elon Musk’s X have a duty to ensure the information they facilitate is accurate and responsible. This incident highlights the urgent need for platforms to implement robust content moderation and fact-checking mechanisms. It is a reminder that technology companies must actively work to prevent their platforms from becoming breeding grounds for disinformation and illegal content.

X is actually informed about all these and their Safety account has posted this:

Is it possible to hold social media platforms accountable?

One of the challenges in holding social media platforms accountable is the difficulty of defining and enforcing standards for harmful content. Different cultures and societies have different views on what constitutes harmful content. Additionally, social media platforms often operate across multiple jurisdictions, making it difficult to enforce a single set of standards globally.

Despite these challenges, it is important to hold social media platforms accountable for their role in disseminating harmful information. Governments, regulators, and the tech industry itself must work together to develop effective solutions to this problem.


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  1. yanta said on October 11, 2023 at 9:31 pm

    A tech site (this site), is now a political agenda pusher? I’m done here. This used to be a good tech site.

  2. Suzie Mlongo said on October 11, 2023 at 4:05 pm

    I’m getting far more pro-Hamas posts and misinformation on Facebook and Instagram than on X, while Telegram is a cesspit of anti-Israeli propaganda. I hope the EU will be going after those companies too.

    1. Sebas said on October 12, 2023 at 10:13 am

      “Now, the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, has sought to remind all social media companies they are legally required to prevent the spread of harmful content related to Hamas.

      “Content circulating online that can be associated to Hamas qualifies as terrorist content, is illegal, and needs to be removed under both the DSA (Digital Services Act) and TCO (Terrorist Content Online) Regulation,” a Commission spokesperson told Reuters.

      “The Commission will fully apply the DSA and monitor the full implementation of the TCO. The Commission urges online platforms to fully comply with EU rules.” End of quote.

      Hamas is a Terrorist organization, it’s that simple. You don’t allow their Third Reich atrocities and hate speech to be published.

      1. Tom Hawack said on October 12, 2023 at 1:04 pm

        DSA, TCO or whatever Act prohibiting opinions, viewpoints on behalf of whatever consideration is IMO a dangerous step : this is censorship. As much as I consider prohibiting false FACTS from being published and removing them accordingly is indispensable as much I will continue to strive for freedom of expression when it concerns opinions. I may disagree with certain opinions in particular when they abolish/diminish the responsibilities of terrorist organizations — and I do, fully, with no exception — I remain convinced than an opinion is not a fact as I expressed it in my above comment. If I read “Monsters are being persecuted” and disagree I feel no justification to prohibit such a comment, but if I read “Monsters have not killed babies, kids, women and men” then I’ll be the first to require such a disinformation to be removed immediately.

    2. Anonymous said on October 11, 2023 at 8:18 pm

      Freedom of speech means that all speech is protected, not just the speech you agree with.

  3. Tom Hawack said on October 11, 2023 at 3:26 pm

    Article URL : []

    Harmful content is one thing, disinformation is another, unless to consider that disinformation (including fake news and misinformation) is as such harmful, which I believe it is but also far more given it concerns what is universally considered as vicious : lies. Lying is not defendable on the account that different cultures and societies have different views on what constitutes harmful content. Am I free to lie? I certainly am. Is a lie defendable on the account of freedom of expression? Certainly not. Liberty extremists still haven’t understood that their are two fundamental rules in life : liberty and duty, Consciousness fixes naturally limits otherwise liberty becomes imprisoned in a chaotic anarchy where force imposes a pseudo-truth.

    Elon Musk, together with megalomania as it seems, considers liberty of expression as a right to spread disinformation and apparently yawns when responding to Thierry Breton’s letter :

    “Our policy is that everything is open source and transparent, an approach that I know the EU supports.
    Please list the violations you allude to on ?, so that that the public can see them.
    Merci beaucoup.”

    He’s reversing the charges to elude the facts. What a nerve. Of course social sites, X included, don’t care about dis/mis information but do about nudity in art. What an upside down cultural inconsistency. America at its worst in the face of its best. We’ve known the latter only in our younger years which is why we love America; should we have known its worst that loving a country may have been expressed in less general terms.

    Just avoid so-called “social” sites, the same crappy mentality which ever they are.

    1. just an Ed said on October 11, 2023 at 5:26 pm

      Who decides what is and is not disinformation? Do you really want censorship? How does one learn discernment and critical thought if not presented with opposing viewpoints?

      I agree that there is a difference between license and liberty, and liberty entails responsibility. The question is who has the responsibility. If someone is on a streetcorner presenting an argument do you hold the streetcorner responsible? If there is an argument in a bar, is the bar responsible for the disagreement?
      Be careful, or you will re-create the Soviet Union in your quest for truth. Forgive my American viewpoint, but I don’t think censorship is the best answer.

      1. Tom Hawack said on October 11, 2023 at 7:54 pm

        Article URL : []

        @just an Ed,

        Keywords here : facts, opinions, responsibility, censorship.

        Viewpoints are necessary and always welcomed. But asserting a fact as true or false is different from a viewpoint, it is an information or misinformation or fake news.

        Ideally each one of us should exercise caution with information, wherever it comes from, but such is not the case.

        I believe I am responsible not only of information I provide but as well of information I carry out without having been the author.
        Hence I believe that anyone spreading factual information he has not verified himself is responsible provided he hasn’t at least accompanied the provided information with the context of his source, of the environment.
        Hence I believe that social sites should not publish factual information without having checked it before. Facts, not opinions of course. Are they responsible?

        > If someone is on a streetcorner presenting an argument do you hold the streetcorner responsible? If there is an argument in a bar, is the bar responsible for the disagreement?

        Presenting an argument is welcomed. As for a bartender, or myself with guests, neither is responsible for those who assert facts nor for allowing these assertions of being held under his roof. But neither the bartender nor myself are a media.

        Media as defined by the Oxford dictionary : “the main ways that large numbers of people receive information and entertainment, that is television, radio, newspapers and the internet”

        From there on, yes : medias are responsible of the information they provide yet welcomed for the viewpoints they allow, and yes : social websites as well.

        Censorship when applied to opinions is dramatic, but censorship applied to a piece of factual information without checking it is not censorship but respect, respect if the fact is proven to be true and published, respect if the fact is denied by evidence and not published. Checking requires work and time, therefor has a cost. Journalists check, not social sites.

        Again, liberty is not and cannot be a passport for spreading misinformation particularly when proven to have been initiated and/or spread deliberately.

        Newspapers verify their sources and when they don’t and have relayed an information proven to be false we all know the mea culpas they go through : they are accountable and their reputation is at risk. Social sites don’t care for their reputation, don’t feel accountable, yet they provide news and information just as any other media. They provide it free of charge and maybe would they feel accountable otherwise?

        Again : a fact is not an opinion. Blocking a comment which relays a fact proven to be false is not censorship but respect for all.

        Proven? Like fact checkers, which check facts, not opinions :

        In French, such as :

        AFP Factuel : []
        Franceinfo : Vrai ou fake []
        Libération : Checknews []

        In English, such as :

        BBC News : Reality Check []
        FactCheck []
        Reuters : Fact Check []

        Are fact checkers a hell of censorship?

      2. Brad said on October 11, 2023 at 6:21 pm

        People who have extensive knowledge on the subject matter, rather than some jackass making crap up off the top of their head?

        This is not a new concept, that’s akin to saying who gets to decide whether you can sell cocaine or not? I’ll give you a clue, in a civilized nation it’s not the people making money from selling cocaine, neither is it the users of cocaine.

        The reality is, Elon Musk has no power. He is not a judge or a government official. He has the same amount of power as the local restaurant owner down the road.

      3. Anonymous said on October 22, 2023 at 6:52 pm

        @just an Ed

        You say Soviet more than a bald and bankrupt video.


        “The reality is, Elon Musk has no power. He is not a judge or a government official. He has the same amount of power as the local restaurant owner down the road.”

        Actually both have immense power. If Elon does not like what you say he can kick you off Twitter/ my pronoun is X. If a bar owner does not like what you say he can kick you out of the bar.

        Also I noticed the same people who are against platforms being moderated are the same people who have no problem with DMCA takedowns being abused.

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