The European Commission has initiated a formal inquiry into X, previously known as Twitter, concerning its handling of material linked to Hamas’ aggression towards Israel.
In a notification, the Commission declared its intention to investigate whether X contravened the Digital Services Act in its management of misinformation and unlawful content on the network. The Commission is examining X’s effectiveness in enforcing Community Notes – annotations to specific tweets for contextual clarity – and policies addressing risks to civil discourse and election integrity.
“The launch of formal proceedings allows the Commission to pursue additional enforcement actions, such as provisional measures and non-compliance rulings,” the notice stated. “The Commission can also accept any commitments from X to address issues raised in the proceedings.”
The investigation will scrutinize X’s blue check mark feature, perceived by the Commission as a “potentially misleading design” on the site. The European Commission has also identified “possible deficiencies” in X’s attempts to enhance transparency of publicly accessible data on the platform.
X’s proprietor, Elon Musk, instigated polarizing strategies at the social media behemoth after acquiring Twitter in 2022, inciting backlash from veteran users and industry insiders. As the then-CEO, he was responsible for downsizing Twitter’s trust and safety team, diminishing content moderation, and altering the iconic blue check verification process.
Musk, using his personal account, shared antisemitic content by responding to a tweet endorsing extreme right-wing conspiracy theories. Media Matters, a watchdog organization, revealed in a November report that X’s advertising spaces for major companies could appear alongside contentious content under specific search conditions.
In a November discussion with Andrew Ross Sorkin, Musk confronted departing advertisers, claiming their departure could “destroy the company.” Subsequently, the social media platform, proclaiming itself a bastion of free speech, sued Media Matters, arguing the report misrepresented the average X user’s experience.
As of this writing, Musk had not publicly addressed the European Commission’s investigation. The ex-Twitter CEO, a prominent figure in the cryptocurrency world, is noted for promoting Dogecoin and other digital currencies, as well as Bitcoin acquisitions during his tenure at Tesla and SpaceX.