UPDATED 23:00 EDT / OCTOBER 11 2023


EU now tells Meta to keep platform free of misinformation during Israel-Gaza conflict

A day after the European Union warned X Corp. about the spread of disinformation regarding the Hamas attack on Israel, a similarly worded letter was sent to Meta Platforms Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg.

In this missive, also penned by the European Commissioner Thierry Breton, Meta was told to heed the EU’s Digital Services Act – the sweeping legislation in the EU designed to encourage tech companies to take responsibility for what appears on their platforms.

Breton asked Meta to “be very vigilant to ensure strict compliance” with the rules, not accusing the company of any wrongdoing but asking that if dubious content does arise, there will be “proportionate and effective mitigation measures.” Breton added, “I urgently invite you to ensure that your systems are effective.”

Breton was complimentary of Meta, writing that he was pleased with how the company had cooperated with independent authorities in the run-up to the recent elections in Slovakia while bolstering its fact-checking tools. However, he did raise some concerns.

“We have also been made aware of reports of a significant number of deep fakes and manipulated content which circulated on your platforms and a few still appear online,” he wrote. “I remind you that the DSA requires that the risk of amplification of fake and manipulated images and facts generated with the intention to influence elections is taken extremely seriously in the context of mitigation measures.”

Such measures have been met by some with applause, although there are some critics of the act warning of its debilitating effect on free expression and its potential for authoritarian abuse. Companies are likely to respond to the act with alacrity, given that they risk being fined 6% of their global revenue – billions of dollars for the social media behemoths.

According to a statement Meta gave to the media, it has already formed a “special operations center staffed with experts,” which the company said is partly staffed by fluent Hebrew and Arabic speakers. “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 company added. “We’ll continue this work as this conflict unfolds.”

Photo: Sara Kurfeß/Unsplash

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