Musk’s X has a fraction of rivals’ content moderators, EU says

By Foo Yun Chee and Supantha Mukherjee

BRUSSELS/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Elon Musk’s X social media platform has just 2,294 content moderators to ensure users comply with EU online content rules, significantly fewer than Google and TikTok, a senior European Commission official said on Friday.

Adopted recently, the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) requires 19 very large online platforms and 2 very large online search engines, among them Google, X, TikTok, Apple, Meta Platforms and Microsoft, to do more to tackle illegal and harmful content on their platforms.

X has triggered concerns after Musk laid off many employees responsible for monitoring and regulating content amid the spread of disinformation on the platform.

According to reports the companies submitted to the EU in September, X’s 2,294 EU content moderators compared with 16,974 at Google’s YouTube, 7,319 at Google Play and 6,125 at TikTok, the senior Commission official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Regulators are hoping that X will feel the pressure to boost its number of content moderators to catch up with its rivals, the official said. “There is an important aspect of the DSA, and that is peer pressure,” she said.

The Commission has more than doubled the number of staff enforcing the DSA to 120 from 50, the official said.

There have been worries that the EU executive would not be able to deal with Big Tech companies’ army of executives and lawyers, resulting in enforcement gaps.

Starting from Feb. 17 next year, all intermediary service providers will have to comply with the DSA, not just the 19 services named in April.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Jan Harvey)