European Commissioner Thierry Breton warned some of Silicon Valley’s top social media players that Europe requires them to take prompt action to stop the spread of disinformation about the Israel-Hamas war.
(Bloomberg) — European Commissioner Thierry Breton warned some of Silicon Valley’s top social media players that Europe requires them to take prompt action to stop the spread of disinformation about the Israel-Hamas war.
Breton told Meta Platforms Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg that following the terrorist attacks, some platforms were responsible for a surge of illegal content in the European Union. He asked Meta to respond within 24 hours to ensure the company’s systems are effective in a letter on Wednesday posted to Breton’s new account on the social media site Bluesky.
The letter came a day after he sent one to Elon Musk, in which he told the owner of X, formerly Twitter, that his social network is spreading illegal content and called on him to take quick action.
The war is one of the first major tests of the EU’s Digital Services Act that went into force earlier this year. Social media companies like Meta and X are now required to hire more content moderators and use risk mitigation methods to decrease the spread of harmful content. Companies that fail to comply could face fines as high as 6% annual revenue or even be banned from the bloc if they repeatedly break the rules.
Read More: The War in Israel Shows How Social Media’s Idealistic Era Has Ended
Breton also asked Zuckerberg to inform the commission about the measures the company has taken to decrease deepfakes, given a number of elections coming up in Europe.
A spokesperson for Meta didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Read More: EU’s Breton Urges Musk to Blunt Israel-Hamas Disinformation
Breton’s letter to Zuckerberg — later posted on X — was less aggressive than his note to Musk, which triggered a flurry of comments by the world’s richest man.
Musk fought back against the claims, telling Breton in public posts to discuss concerns on his social network instead of through letters or other channels.
Musk and Breton have developed a rapport over the past year, in part through their shared affection for semiconductors and satellites. Before Musk purchased Twitter, Breton flew to Texas and got Musk to film an awkward video saying he agreed with the EU’s ideas about content moderation.
Read More: The Man Keeping Musk, Zuckerberg and Big Tech in Line in Europe
Breton paid a visit to X during his tour of Silicon Valley in June and greeted Linda Yaccarino, then less than three weeks on the job as chief executive officer. Musk joined the meeting remotely for a “stress test” of the platform’s ability to comply with the DSA and assured him at the time that he planned to comply with the laws.
In a sign that relationship may be fraying, on Wednesday, Breton opened an account on Bluesky, writing “feels less crowded — yet more human — without all those bots.”
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