In November 2022, the EU Digital Services Act (DSA) was enacted, imposing stringent obligations on major online platforms. The DSA mandates these platforms to mitigate disinformation risks and establish stringent protocols to tackle hate speech while safeguarding freedom of expression. Violators can face fines up to 6% of their annual income.
The First Investigation
The EU initiated its inaugural investigation under the DSA against Platform X, alleging its failure to combat disinformation and regulate content. This action stemmed from a preliminary probe conducted by the European Commission. This analysis was based on risk assessment reports submitted by X in September, transparency disclosures on November 3, and X’s responses to the regulator’s information request.
Proceedings and Enforcement
Regulator spokesperson Thierry Breton cited X’s purported breaches of obligations pertaining to transparency, combating illegal content, and disinformation. The Commission clarified that evidence collection is underway, a process that lacks a defined deadline as per DSA guidelines.
Breton had previously urged major social media platforms, including X, Meta, and TikTok, to remain vigilant against disinformation. He underscored the potential imposition of fines once investigations reveal violations.
Additional Scrutiny and Allegations
Apart from content moderation, the European Commission aims to investigate “deceptive user interface design,” such as social network X’s distinctive “blue checkmarks.” Moreover, a privacy activist, Max Schrems, filed a complaint against X for allegedly breaching EU rules by unlawfully leveraging individuals’ political and religious affiliations for targeted advertising. However, X’s representatives have refrained from commenting on these allegations, notes NIXsolutions.
The impact of the DSA remains a subject of ongoing scrutiny and is poised to significantly shape the landscape of online platform accountability within the European Union.