EU Writes To Mark Zuckerberg Over Hamas Attack Disinformation

Image credit: Meta

Thierry Breton gives Meta similar warning issued to Elon Musk about disinformation concerning deadly attack on Israel by Hamas

The European Union has issued a similar warning to Meta Platform that it issued a day earlier to Elon Musk and Twitter (aka X).

The letter to Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg was written by Thierry Breton, the European commissioner responsible for the Digital Service Act (DSA).

Breton reminded Zuckerburg about the platform’s content moderation responsibilities under the DSA concerning the terrorist attacks by Hamas against Israel and the retaliatory airstrikes in Gaza- and on tackling disinformation in elections in the EU.

Thierry Breton. Image credit: European Parliament
Thierry Breton. Image credit: European Parliament

Facebook letter

The letter from Breton to Zuckerburg was notably different in tone to the letter that Breton had sent to Elon Musk a day earlier.

Breton instead asked Zuckerberg to remain vigilant against Hamas misinformation and deep fake political posts in light of upcoming European elections, as well as continue to address certain issues in a timely manner.

Breton began by citing the recent terrorist attack by Hamas on Israel which has resulted in “certain platforms” disseminating a surge of illegal content and disinformation. Breton asked Zuckerberg to remain vigilant and ensure its systems are effective so as to remain in compliance with the DSA.

Breton then moved onto the bulk of the letter, concerning disinformation geared towards political interference in light of upcoming elections in Europe.

Breton also asked Zuckerberg and Meta to prove it has taken “timely, diligent and objective action,” on the matter.

In a letter, Breton said the firm had 24 hours to tell him about the “proportionate and effective” measures it had taken to counter the spread of disinformation on its platforms.

Meta response

Meanwhile a Meta spokesperson told the BBC: “After the terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israel on Saturday, we quickly established a special operations centre staffed with experts, including fluent Hebrew and Arabic speakers, to closely monitor and respond to this rapidly evolving situation.”

“Our teams are working around the clock to keep our platforms safe, take action on content that violates our policies or local law, and coordinate with third-party fact checkers in the region to limit the spread of misinformation,” the Meta spokesperson told the BBC. “We’ll continue this work as this conflict unfolds.”

DSA consequences

Other social media platforms such as TikTok and YouTube have also seen an uptick in harmful and fake information about the attack on Israel by Hamas, which is a proscribed terrorist organisation in the EU.

Under the EU’s new Digital Services Act (DSA), failure to moderate content such as fake news could incur a fine of 6 percent of X revenues, or even a shutdown of the platform within the EU.

Last month European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova had urged big name tech platforms to do more to combat Russian disinformation campaigns ahead of elections in Europe.

Jourova specifically listed Twitter as being the largest spreader of Russian lies and propaganda, out of all large social media platforms.

Facebook had been listed as the second worst offender.