EU demands X to explain its lax content moderation under DSA

A recent transparency report on X revealed that the platform has curtailed its team of content moderators by almost 20pc since the preceding report in October.

The European Commission has sent X (formerly Twitter) a request for information on the platform’s decreasing content moderation resources under EU laws relating to the Digital Services Act (DSA).

In an update posted yesterday (8 May), the Commission said that the request seeks to obtain more details on content moderation activities and resources at X. It also wants X to provide details on the risk assessment conducted by the company owned by Elon Musk, specifically in relation to the implementation of generative AI tools in the EU.

This comes as a recent transparency report on X under the DSA revealed that the platform has curtailed its team of content moderators by almost 20pc since the preceding report in October 2023, reducing linguistic coverage within the EU from 11 European languages to seven.

“[We are] also seeking further details on the risk assessments and mitigation measures linked to the impact of generative AI tools on electoral processes, dissemination of illegal content, and protection of fundamental rights,” the update reads.

The Commission opened formal proceedings against X in December to assess whether the platform has violated the terms of the DSA – which came into force in August of last year.

“Today’s opening of formal proceedings against X makes it clear that, with the DSA, the time of big online platforms behaving like they are ‘too big to care’ has come to an end,” internal market commissioner Thierry Breton said at the time.

“We now have clear rules, ex ante obligations, strong oversight, speedy enforcement and deterrent sanctions and we will make full use of our toolbox to protect our citizens and democracies.”

Now, the Commission says that X must provide the requested information relating to content moderation resources by 17 May, and the remaining questions by 27 May. The company may be subject to periodic penalty payments if it fails to do so.

In March, the EU dropped new election guidelines for online giants such as Meta, TikTok and X ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections in June, including requirements around setting up internal election teams, promoting official information on electoral processes and adopting measures to reduce the risk posed by generative AI.

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Elon Musk speaking at TED2017. Image: Marla Aufmuth/TED Conference via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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