EU Commissioner Thierry Breton has issued a warning to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg regarding the alleged spread of fake news on Meta’s platforms. In an official letter published on Wednesday, Breton reminded Zuckerberg of the importance of complying with European law and demanded a response within 24 hours. This warning specifically relates to disinformation in the context of the upcoming elections in the EU.
Breton acknowledged that Meta has taken steps to address the risk of misinformation during elections. However, he highlighted the continued presence of deep fakes and false information circulating on social media. The EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), which came into force in August, requires platforms like Meta to moderate posts and remove illegal content. Failure to comply with these rules can result in penalties, including fines of up to 6% of the company’s total global annual turnover.
Breton also expressed concern about the increase in illegal content and disinformation spreading in the EU following the Hamas attack on Israel. He urged Meta to be vigilant in removing alleged illegal content related to this issue. Breton’s warning to Meta follows a similar warning issued to X CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday.
In response to the allegations, a Meta spokesperson stated that the company’s teams are working diligently to take action against content that violates their policies or local laws. They are also collaborating with third-party fact-checkers to limit the spread of misinformation. The spokesperson emphasized that Meta is committed to addressing the issue and ensuring the integrity of its platforms.
Elon Musk’s response to the warning was that X’s policy is “open source and transparent.” He requested that any offending content be publicly flagged on X. However, Breton declined the offer, stating that Musk was already aware of violations by X users.
In a letter to Breton, X CEO Linda Yaccarino affirmed that the platform has removed or labeled tens of thousands of pieces of content related to Hamas. This action demonstrates X’s commitment to combating illegal content and disinformation.
The recent surge of violence between Hamas and Israel began when Hamas launched ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood.’ Hamas fired rockets and sent commandos deep into Israeli territory, prompting the Israel Defense Force (IDF) to respond with airstrikes and utility cutoffs. As tensions escalated, Israel declared war on Hamas.
The issue of disinformation and the spread of fake news is a pressing concern for the EU, particularly during election periods. The EU’s warning to Meta and X reflects its commitment to addressing these challenges and holding platforms accountable for maintaining the integrity of their platforms.
In conclusion, EU Commissioner Thierry Breton’s warning to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg emphasizes the need for platforms to take immediate action against the spread of fake news and disinformation. The EU’s Digital Services Act establishes penalties for non-compliance, signaling the EU’s determination to ensure the integrity of elections and combat the harmful effects of misinformation.