Elon Musk’s X is under official investigation by the EU for potential breach of online content laws.
Credit: ALAIN JOCARD/AFP via Getty Images

Elon Musk’s X, formerly Twitter, is facing an investigation by the EU Commission for potential violations of the Digital Services Act (DSA) related to illegal content, advertising, and disinformation on major tech platforms.

The EU announced the initiation of “formal proceedings” on Monday with a focus on examining whether X may have breached the DSA in the context of risk management, content moderation, deceptive design, advertising transparency, and data access for researchers.

In addition to the publication on its website, EU Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton also made a public statement about the launch of the investigation into X.

What Areas will be Scrutinized?

According to the announcement, the EU’s investigation will concentrate on specific aspects related to X.

The inquiry will delve into “the distribution of illegal content in the EU” and the content moderation measures adopted by X in addressing such content. This encompasses misinformation and hate speech issues found on X, as well as the company’s response to reported content.

The probe will also assess X’s efforts to “counter information manipulation on the platform.” The EU intends to scrutinize the effectiveness of X’s “Community Notes” system, the platform’s crowd-sourced fact-checking feature.


John Oliver’s in-depth criticism of Elon Musk is a must-watch

The announcement further outlines that the EU will address transparency concerns within X, including “shortcomings” related to researchers’ access to platform data. Previous reports have touched on the impact of Musk’s changes to the company’s API pricing, significantly limiting research capabilities on the platform.

Moreover, the EU will investigate transparency pertaining to X’s ad repository and “deceptive design of the user interface.” Specifically, the EU will explore verification checkmarks, known as blue checkmarks, and how they are associated with X’s paid subscription service. This will likely encompass an inquiry into whether Musk’s alteration allowing anyone to purchase a blue check via an $8 per month subscription has led to confusion, as these badges were initially employed to confirm the authenticity of notable users.

Months in the Making

Prior to the official investigation, Musk and Breton engaged in public disputes regarding a potential inquiry. In early October, following an attack in Israel and subsequent misinformation on X, Breton cautioned X about a potential EU investigation. Musk responded by urging the EU to address the issue publicly on X rather than engage in an investigation.

While Musk clashed with Breton publicly, X CEO Linda Yaccarino did respond to the EU with a letter outlining the company’s actions to combat disinformation issues.

However, despite this response, the EU proceeded with a formal request to X for information in mid-October. At that time, Breton referred to this as the “first step in our investigation to determine compliance with the DSA.”

The DSA, which came into effect in the EU this year, holds “Very Large Online Platforms” legally responsible for harmful or illegal user-generated content on their platforms, including tech giants such as Meta and X.

Musk has hinted at the possibility of pulling X out of the EU instead of complying with the DSA. With the EU investigation now underway and the potential for substantial fines, Musk’s response is eagerly anticipated.

Will Musk abide by the EU’s regulations, or will he convey a message to the EU similar to the one he sent to advertisers leaving his platform: “Go forget yourself.” The answer will likely emerge soon.

Social Media
Elon Musk


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *