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Meta and X both receive warning letters from the EU over disinformation around the Israel-Hamas war

The European Union has warned Meta, Facebook and Instagram's parent company, about illegal content and disinformation related to the Israel-Hamas conflict being spread on their platforms.

The warning comes a day after EU Commissioner Thierry Breton sent an urgent letter to Twitter owner Elon Musk about the same issues. Meta has been given 24 hours to respond to concerns over illegal and harmful content circulating about the attacks.

“Following the terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas against Israel, we are seeing a surge of illegal content and disinformation being disseminated in the EU via certain platforms,” the letter from the EU commissioner reads. “I would ask you to be very vigilant to ensure strict compliance with the DSA [Digital Services Act] rules on terms of service, on the requirement of timely, diligent, and objective action following notices of illegal content in the EU, and on the need for proportionate and effective mitigation measures.”

“I urgently invite you to ensure that your systems are effective. Needless to say, I also expect you to be in contact with the relevant law enforcement authorities and Europol, and ensure that you respond promptly to any requests,” the letter added.

In response, Meta said its teams are working 24/7 to keep platforms safe, take action on violating content, and limit misinformation spread.

The social media giant published a detailed blog post outlining all the measures it’s taking in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war including hashtag blocking and imposing restrictions on Facebook Live and Instagram Live for people who have previously violated certain policies.

“We’re also aware of Hamas’ threats to broadcast footage of the hostages and we’re taking these threats extremely seriously,” Meta said in the post. “Our teams are monitoring this closely, and would swiftly remove any such content (and the accounts behind it), banking the content in our systems to prevent copies being re-shared.”

Apart from the Israel-Hamas war issue, Breton's letter also reveals the EU is worried Meta isn't doing enough about disinformation around European elections. Breton personally raised this with Zuckerberg in June.

Even though Meta took some steps for the recent Slovakian elections, the EU commissioner notes that there are many deepfakes and manipulated content still circulating on Meta's platforms.

Under EU digital rules, platforms must take election disinformation very seriously. Breton requests Zuckerberg urgently provide details on measures to mitigate deepfakes and manipulated content, especially in the light of the upcoming EU elections.

Fines for confirmed violations can be up to 6% of global annual revenue, billions in Meta's case. The EU recently said it would discuss deepfakes with AI firm OpenAI. But it's also focused on platforms rapidly spreading such disinformation.


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