The European Union (EU) has issued a directive to Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, instructing it to address the spread of “disinformation” related to the recent conflict between Hamas and Israel within 24 hours. The EU has expressed concern over disseminating false information on social media platforms, including manipulated or mislabeled photos and videos.
Thierry Breton, the head of industry for the EU, specifically communicated to Meta the need to take “diligent, timely action” to counteract disinformation on its platforms. In a letter, Meta was given a 24-hour deadline to explain the “reasonable and effective” measures it had taken to curb the spread of fake news.
Breton also reminded social media companies, including X (formerly Twitter), of their legal obligation to prevent disseminating harmful material related to Hamas, classified as a terrorist group in the EU. The EU emphasized that content associated with Hamas qualifies as terrorist material and should be removed under both the Digital Services Act and the Terrorist Content Online Regulation.
A separate letter was sent to Elon Musk, CEO of X (Twitter), expressing concerns about the persistence of “violent and terrorist content” on the platform. Musk responded by stating that his company had taken action, including deleting accounts linked to Hamas, and requested a list of alleged violations.
Breton urged Musk to check the effectiveness of the platform’s systems in handling fake and manipulated content, emphasizing the widespread sharing of false information on the social media site.These actions by the EU come in the aftermath of recent hostilities between Hamas and Israel, during which hundreds of lives were lost.
The EU’s directive reflects its commitment to addressing the spread of disinformation on major social media platforms. It underscores the legal obligations of these platforms to curb the dissemination of content associated with terrorist groups.
The EU’s Digital Services Act, which came into force in November of the previous year, empowers regulatory authorities to take action against companies that fail to adhere to strict rules, including potential fines of up to 6% of global turnover.