Elon Musk's X in big trouble as EU opens formal proceedings over breaches of its Digital Services Act

X app on iPhone
(Image credit: Future)

The European Commission has opened formal proceedings against Elon Musk's X, formerly Twitter, over claims it may have breached the bloc's Digital Services Act in several key areas. 

In a press release early Monday, the EC stated, "The European Commission has opened formal proceedings to assess whether X may have breached the Digital Services Act (DSA) in areas linked to risk management, content moderation, dark patterns, advertising transparency and data access for researchers."

The EC says that "On the basis of the preliminary investigation conducted so far, including on the basis of an analysis of the risk assessment report submitted by X in September, X's Transparency report published on 3 November, and X's replies to a formal request for information" it has decided to open a formal investigation. Specifically, the release notes "the dissemination of illegal content in the context of Hamas' terrorist attacks against Israel." 

European Commission opens formal proceedings against X

The European Commission is looking into a number of key areas. They are: 

  • "Countering the dissemination of illegal content in the EU" and the measures taken by X " to counter the dissemination of illegal content in the EU"
  • "The effectiveness of measures taken to combat information manipulation on the platform," specifically the effectiveness of X's 'Community Notes' system
  • "The measures taken by X to increase the transparency of its platform," and "suspected shortcomings in giving researchers access to publicly accessible data"
  • "A suspected deceptive design of the user interface" - notably in relation to the Blue checkmarks which denote a subscription to the platform 

As the release notes each of these counts in some way shows X (previously Twitter) may have fallen short of the Digital Services Act, applied to the platform after it was designated a "Very Large Online Platform" or "VLOP" in April. X has 112 million monthly active users in the EU, and as such is required to carry out the obligations set out in the DSA such as combating the spread of illegal content, and providing researchers with effective access to platform data. 

In a statement, EU exec Margrethe Vestager said "The higher the risk large platforms pose to our society, the more specific the requirements of the Digital Services Act are. We take any breach of our rules very seriously. And the evidence we currently have is enough to formally open a proceeding against X. The Commission will carefully investigate X's compliance with the DSA, to ensure European citizens are safeguarded online - as the regulation mandates."

In a blog post in November, X revealed steps it was taking "In times of uncertainty such as the Israel-Hamas conflict," confirming it had "actioned " more than 325,000 pieces of content and removing 3,000 accounts by "violent entities in the region, including Hamas."

In a statement to iMore, X said it "remains committed to complying with the Digital Services Act, and is cooperating with the regulatory process. It is important that this process remains free of political influence and follows the law. X is focused on creating a safe and inclusive environment for all users on our platform, while protecting freedom of expression, and we will continue to work tirelessly towards this goal."

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Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9