EU investigates disinformation on X related to Israel conflict

13 Oct 2023

Image: © ImagesRouges/

X now needs to provide the Commission with information requested under the DSA by 18 October, after which next steps will be decided.

The European Commission has launched an investigation into X, formerly Twitter, over the alleged spreading of disinformation on the platform about the latest events in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in Israel and Palestine.

In a statement published today (13 October), the Commission said that it has sent X a formal request for information under the Digital Services Act (DSA), following reports of the dissemination of what the Commission regards as “illegal content and disinformation”.

The Commission noted that this primarily relates to the “spreading of terrorist and violent content and hate speech” and that the request addresses compliance with other provisions of the DSA, EU regulation that includes strict rules on content moderation.

Earlier this week, Thierry Breton, EU commissioner for the internal market, publicly shared a letter he sent to X owner Elon Musk over claims that the site is being used to “disseminate illegal content and disinformation”.

“We have, from qualified sources, reports about potentially illegal content circulating on your service [X] despite flags from relevant authorities,” Breton said in the letter after various claims that graphic and misleading content is circulating on the site relating to the conflict.

As part of the investigation, the Commission said X needs to provide the requested information by 18 October for questions related to the “activation and functioning of X’s crisis response protocol” and by 31 October for the rest.

The Commission will then assess next steps based on the response received from X, with the potential for fines if the response contains “incorrect, incomplete or misleading information”.

“The DSA is here to protect both freedom of expression and our democracies – including in times of crisis,” Breton posted on X today. “We have sent X a formal request for information, a first step in our investigation to determine compliance with the DSA.”

Similar warnings to the one made to X earlier this week have been made to TikTok and Meta. In a separate post, Breton said that TikTok has a “particular obligation” to protect children and teenagers from “violent content” on its platform.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic