The European Union (EU) has set a one-week deadline for Meta to provide more detailed information on its efforts to combat the spread of illegal content and disinformation on its Facebook and Instagram platforms. This request is particularly related to content related to the attacks in Israel by Hamas.
Formal Request from European Commission
The European Commission, which is the executive arm of the EU, formally requested this information from Meta. Additionally, the commission asked TikTok for more details regarding the measures it has taken to prevent the dissemination of “terrorist and violent content and hate speech.”
Background: EU’s Content Moderation Rules
Last week, EU Commissioner Thierry Breton reached out to various social media companies, including Meta and TikTok, with a 24-hour ultimatum to outline the steps they are taking to adhere to the EU’s content moderation rules, as stipulated in the Digital Services Act (DSA).
Meta and TikTok’s Initial Responses
In response to this pressure, Meta stated that its teams had been working diligently since the Hamas attacks on October 7 to monitor their platforms. They also shared some of the actions they have taken to combat misinformation and content that violates their policies.
TikTok, on the other hand, announced several measures, including the establishment of a command center to coordinate the work of its “safety professionals” worldwide and improvements to its content detection and removal software.
EU’s Need for More Information
Despite these initial responses, the European Commission has indicated that it requires more comprehensive information. In its recent announcement, the commission specified that Meta and TikTok have until October 25 to respond to their requests. Furthermore, they warned that they possess the authority to impose financial penalties if they are not satisfied with the companies’ responses.
Protection of Election Integrity
Both Meta and TikTok have also been instructed to provide details on how they intend to safeguard the “integrity of elections” on their platforms. They have until November 8 to fulfill this requirement.
Compliance with Digital Services Act
It’s important to note that both Meta and TikTok are bound by the provisions of the Digital Services Act, which is a significant piece of legislation that came into effect in August. The DSA aims to establish stricter regulations for large tech companies and protect individuals’ online rights.
Comparison with X (Formerly Twitter)
This move by the European Commission follows a similar ultimatum issued to X, formerly known as Twitter, regarding its plans to combat the spread of illegal, misleading, violent, and hateful content. The commission has also initiated an investigation into X’s compliance with the DSA, but no parallel investigations into Meta or TikTok have been announced at this time.