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European Union Warns Tech Companies Remove Illegal Content

The European Union has mandated that technology companies remove illegal content from their platforms or risk harsh legal consequences.

The European Union has expanded that tech companies must draw illegal content from their platforms or face severe legal penalties. 

This directive comes in the wake of the group Hamas’ attack on Israel and Israel’s retaliatory air strikes in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza, which has led to a surge in misinformation related to the conflict. 

Social media firms have been grappling with doctored images, mislabeled videos, and graphic violence on their platforms.

EU’s Message to Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg:

On Tuesday, EU industry chief Thierry Breton addressed Elon Musk, urging him to curb disinformation on his messaging platform X, citing its use to disseminate illegal content and false information about Middle East violence. 

On Wednesday, a similar warning was issued to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, with a plea to ensure strict compliance with European law.

In his letters to Musk and Zuckerberg, Breton set a strict 24-hour deadline for their companies to inform the EU about their measures to prevent harmful content on their platforms.

EU’s Legal Mandate on Harmful Content:

The European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, has reminded all social media companies of their legal obligation to prevent the spread of harmful content related to Hamas.

The Commission stated that content associated with Hamas qualifies as terrorist content, making it illegal and subject to removal under both the Digital Services Act (DSA) and Terrorist Content Online (TCO) Regulation.

Consequences for Non-Compliance:

The DSA, recently implemented, requires large online platforms, including X and Meta’s Facebook, to remove illegal content and take measures to address risks to public security and civic discourse. 

Companies that breach the DSA can face fines of up to 6% of their global turnover, possibly being banned from operating in Europe for repeat offenders.

Broader Implications and Ongoing Monitoring:

Whether Breton has sent similar messages to other social media companies designated under the DSA remains unclear. 

The EU’s stance underscores its commitment to curbing the spread of harmful content and disinformation on digital platforms, emphasizing the need for strict compliance with European regulations.

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