The Battle Between Elon Musk and European Regulations – The Future of X


Elon Musk

Can you imagine a future in Europe without Twitter, one of the world’s most popular social media networks? Elon Musk’s social media platform, known as X, may soon face removal from Europe. European Union officials recently reminded Elon Musk of his company’s legal obligations under the European Commission’s Digital Service Act.  However, Elon Musk could block X throughout the region, making it unavailable to Europeans instead of complying with the rules (Source).

Through this article we will present the recent issues involving X (formerly known as Twitter) and Elon Musk’s struggle with the European Commission. We will also explain what is the big deal in the new Digital Services Act and how the new rules can affect big websites and social medias.

Hate Speech spreads in X amidst the rise of EU Digital Services Act

The recent events in Israel have sparked a series of posts on X featuring disinformation, and this kind of posting remains unchallenged at present. To put things on perspective, some users are sharing video game footage trying to make users believe this is really coming from the conflict. Furthermore, there are old videos from Syria being recycled as new ones. While this kind of content keeps spreading, X shows its inability to moderate content.

Additionally, there are other issues associated with how users share content on social media. In some cases, antisemitic hate speech and posts glorifying terrorism can pass through social media without detection. In fact, according to research conducted by the CASM Technology and the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, the antisemitic speech grew 105% after Musk took over (Source). Furthermore, Musk shared posts from accounts spreading racist content and conspiracy theories.

EU officials remind Elon Musk that X needs to comply with the rules

In a letter signed by Thierry Breton, the European commissioner for the internal market, the EU said on Tuesday that the commission had “indications” the platform was being used to “disseminate illegal content and disinformation in the EU” over Hamas’ attacks against Israel.

The EU commissioner gave Musk a deadline at 7 p.m. Central European Time on Wednesday to comply with EU regulations, Yon-Courtin told Insider. Should Musk fail to answer, the social media platform could be sanctioned and even banned, she said.

“Elon Musk must understand that with his platform having more than 350 million users comes higher responsibilities,” she said. “There cannot be any illegal content or disinformation circulating within Europe anymore.”

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Musk asked Breton on Tuesday in a post on X to “list the violations you allude to on X, so that that the public can see them.”

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Breton responded to Musk by saying the billionaire was “well aware” of warnings from users and authorities about “fake content and glorification of violence.”

X
People familiar with the matter believe that if Musk blocks Europe, the website’s traffic will fall by around 9%. This would impact the social media network. Especially in times when tis daily usage is reportedly 40% down in some regions.

What is the European Commission’s Digital Service Act?

In case you’re wondering what the European Commission’s Digital Service Act stands for, we can clarify its meaning.

The Digital Services Act (DSA) significantly improves the mechanisms for the removal of illegal content. It also aims to effective protect users and their fundamental rights online, including the freedom of speech. The primary goal of the DSA is to fooster safer online environments. With the new rules, online platforms must implement ways to prevent and remove posts containing illegal goods, services, or content. At the same time, they need to simultaneously give users the means to report this type of content.

The DSA went into effect on August 25, 2023 with giants of the tech segment like Google joining and complying with the rules.

Image Credit: Aurora

What happens if platforms don’t comply?

Online platforms that don’t comply with the DSA’s rules may see fines of up to 6 percent of their global turnover. Considering that Twitter’s position is not the most favorable in terms of revenue, these fines could be a issue. It is also worth noting that any platform continually refusing to comply would face a temporary suspension in the EU.

Conclusion – Elon Musk and Its Social Media Future in Europe is up to regulators

Currently, X keeps working fine on Europe, but the company still needs to take serious actions to comply with the EU DSA. Regulators are sending reminders, but if the misinformation keeps spreading through the platform, the regulators could opt for drastic actions. Right now, there is no official info pointing to X ceasing its operation in Europe. Anyway, the simple report indicates that this is not a remote scenario. At the time of this writing, X refused to comment about the reminders.

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