X CEO Linda Yaccarino Responds To EU Allegations Of ‘Illegal’ Content

The CEO of X (aka Twitter) Linda Yaccarino has responded to the European Union, after it issued a 24 hour-ultimatum to Elon Musk to take action against disinformation on the platform.

Earlier this week Thierry Breton, the European commissioner responsible for the Digital Service Act (DSA) warned Elon Musk that Twitter must tackle the spread of disinformation concerning the Hamas terrorist attack against Israel, to comply with the new EU online content rules.

It came after the European Union last month had specifically named Twitter as being the largest spreader of Russian lies and propaganda, out of all large social media platforms.

Image credit: X

Content moderation

Facebook was named at the time as the second largest platform where Russian misinformation was located.

Thierry Breton has now also written to Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg this week concerning misinformation on Facebook about the Hamas attack.

In his strongly worded letter to Elon Musk however, Thierry Breton, flagged concerns in Brussels that Twitter was not responding within 24 hours to complaints about disinformation or other illegal content such as hate speech within the required time.

Breton also said he had indications that X was being used to disseminate illegal content and disinformation in the EU.

Breton replied to a Musk response by stating: “You are well aware of your users’ – and authorities’- reports on fake content and glorification of violence. Up to you to demonstrate that you walk the talk.”

Thierry Breton. Image credit: European Parliament

Elon Musk of course axed most of Twitter’s content moderation team during his chaotic takeover of the platform, that also saw him axe 80 percent of the workforce.

Under Musk, Twitter has been criticsed for a looser content moderation regime, as the owner has called himself a “free speech absolutist”, despite the EU implementing new rules placing a stricter legal responsibility on large social media platforms to remove harmful content.

Twitter now utilises on an open source approach to content moderation, where users can flag questionable content with the “Community Notes” feature.

In August X reorganised the reporting structure of its trust and safety team, which now reports to both owner Elon Musk and CEO Linda Yaccarino.

Yaccarino response

Now Linda Yaccarino has responded to the 24 hour-ultimatum from the EU’s Thierry Breton, and written her own letter back to the EU official.

“Everyday we’re reminded of our global responsibility to protect the public conversation by ensuring everyone has access to real-time information and safeguarding the platform for all our users,” she tweeted. “In response to the recent terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas, we’ve redistributed resources and refocused internal teams who are working around the clock to address this rapidly evolving situation.

“Today we responded to the European Commission’s letter seeking an update on how we are responding to this conflict. Our work is ongoing,” she added.

She wrote that since the Hamas attack, “we have taken action to remove or label tens of thousands of pieces of content, while Community Notes are visible on thousands of posts, generating millions of impressions.”

Yaccarino added that Twitter is continuing to “respond promptly to law enforcement requests from around the world, including EU member states. At the time of receipt of your letter, we had not received any notices from Europol relating to illegal content on the service.”

TikTok warned

Breton reportedly said his team would analyse Yaccarino’s reply and decide on next steps.

Meanwhile, he has also now written a letter to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, saying TikTok had a particular obligation to protect children & teenagers from violent content & terrorist propaganda – as well as death challenges & potentially life-threatening content, due to its heavy use by younger people.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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