EU Urges TikTok to Combat Misinformation Amid the Israel-Hamas Conflict
The European Union (EU) has called upon TikTok to take swift action to combat the spread of “disinformation” on its platform following the recent conflict between Hamas and Israel. In a letter addressed to TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, the EU expressed its concerns and demanded that the social media company provide details on how it is adhering to European law within the next 24 hours.
This warning comes after the EU previously issued similar directives to other major social media platforms such as Twitter (formerly known as X) and Meta due to a surge in misleading information related to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Notably, the EU has emphasised TikTok’s particular responsibility in protecting young users from violent content, terrorist propaganda, and potentially harmful challenges.
TikTok’s counterparts, X and Meta, which oversee Facebook and Instagram, have also been given 24-hour ultimatums to address the issue of disinformation by the EU. While X’s CEO, Linda Yaccarino, responded by highlighting her company’s actions in removing or flagging tens of thousands of content pieces and hundreds of accounts since the outbreak of the conflict, Meta has not yet issued an official statement. However, discussions continue between the EU and Meta’s compliance teams.
The EU’s latest directive is in response to its recently introduced legislation, the Digital Services Act (DSA), which necessitates that social media platforms actively remove “illegal content” and demonstrate the measures they have implemented for compliance. The EU has made it clear that it is prepared to undertake various actions, including interviews, inspections, investigations, imposing fines, and, as a last resort, imposing temporary bans on platforms within the EU that fail to meet the new regulatory standards.
The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has underlined the vital role that social media platforms play in managing and moderating content during times of crisis and conflict. The EU’s latest actions underscore the increasing importance of addressing misinformation and disinformation on online platforms, especially when it comes to sensitive geopolitical events.
The response from the EU serves as a clear indication of the growing significance of managing and moderating online content during conflicts and the responsibilities placed on social media platforms to combat the spread of false or harmful information.