ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok and Meta Platforms Inc. were added to the European Union’s list of tech firms being quizzed about how they are mitigating risks of possible illegal content spreading on their social media platforms amid the Israel-Hamas conflict.
(Bloomberg) — ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok and Meta Platforms Inc. were added to the European Union’s list of tech firms being quizzed about how they are mitigating risks of possible illegal content spreading on their social media platforms amid the Israel-Hamas conflict.
The European Commission on Thursday said it sent formal requests for information to the two companies, further escalating EU attempts to rein in harmful content on social media a week after it asked Elon Musk’s X for similar answers.
The EU gave Meta and TikTok until Oct. 25 to respond about how they’re tackling election disinformation and the spreading of “terrorist and violent content and hate speech” respectively, following the Hamas-Israel conflict. X’s answers were due Wednesday. Hamas has been designated a terrorist organization by the US and the EU.
Read more: Europe’s Two-Track Approach to Policing Big Tech: QuickTake
Under the bloc’s new Digital Services Act, social media companies are 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.
Meta, TikTok and X could face fines if they fail to respond to the commission.
TikTok said it heard from the commission Thursday morning and its team is currently reviewing the request. Next week, the company said it will publish its first transparency report under the bloc’s new rules and will “include more information about our ongoing work to keep our European community safe.”
Meta’s teams “are working around the clock to keep our platforms safe, take action on content that violates our policies or local law, and coordinate with third-party fact checkers in the region to limit the spread of misinformation,” the company said in a statement, adding it has “a well-established process for identifying and mitigating risks during a crisis while also protecting expression.”
Meta also said it established a special operations center staffed with experts, including Arabic and Hebrew speakers, to monitor posts.
EU internal market commissioner Thierry Breton sent warning letters to the companies earlier this month, reminding them of their obligations to take the necessary content moderation measures under the DSA.
–With assistance from Katharina Rosskopf.
(Updates with TikTok, Meta comments from sixth paragraph.)
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