19 Oct, 2023 @ 17:15
1 min read

Elon Musk weighs banning X (Twitter) in the EU as bloc demands answers for ‘fake viral content’ relating to Israeli-Hamas conflict

Elon Musk's Tesla eyeing up massive Valencia deal in Spain
Cordon Press image

THE OWNER of X (formerly Twitter), Elon Musk, is considering removing the social media platform from European countries such as Spain thanks to new regulations in the region.

The entrepreneur, who  is also the CEO of car manufacturer Tesla, has discussed pulling the app’s availability in the European Union or blocking users from accessing it, according to a report on news site Insider

The revelation comes after an EU official warned Musk last week that the site was spreading fake viral content and disinformation in the wake of the attacks carried out by Hamas on Israeli targets on October 7.

On Wednesday, EU values commissioner V?ra Jourová went further with the criticism. 

“We’re seeing a dramatic rise of antisemitic content on online platforms. X, formerly Twitter, seems particularly bad at stepping up to this challenge,” she said, in comments reported by the EU Observer. 

Fake media posts have been flooding the platform in recent weeks, and have been allowed to proliferate after Musk reportedly stripped X of an internal tool that was used to identify misinformation. 

Elon Musk's Tesla eyeing up massive Valencia deal in Spain
Elon Musk in a file photo. Cordon Press image

What’s more, experts have pointed to the fact that accounts that pay for its blue-check subscription service are favoured. If posts from these accounts go viral, their creators can earn revenues, meaning that there is an incentive to share content that will get the biggest reaction, even if it contains misinformation. 

One report that recently spread on Twitter accused Israel of having authorised a nuclear weapon strike in Gaza. 

In August of this year, the European Union adopted the Digital Services Act (DSA). This establishes a series of rules that are aimed at stopping harmful content from spreading, as well as banning certain user-targeting practices, according to Reuters. It also means that some internal data from sites such as X have to be shared with regulators. 

A person familiar with the company told Insider that it was this regulation that had prompted Musk to consider making changes to the availability of the app within the EU. 

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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