May 20, 2024


X says it has removed “hundreds of Hamas-affiliated accounts” and taken down thousands of posts since the attack on Israel by the Palestinian militant group.

The platform, formerly known as Twitter, was given 24 hours by the European Union earlier this week to address illegal content and disinformation regarding the conflict or face penalties under the bloc’s recently enacted Digital Services Act.

CEO Linda Yaccarino responded to EU official Thierry Breton in a letter dated Wednesday that she posted to X. She said the company had “redistributed resources and refocused internal teams who are working around the clock to address this rapidly evolving situation.”

“There is no place on X for terrorist organizations or violent extremist groups and we continue to remove such accounts in real time,” Yaccarino wrote.

“X is… addressing identified fake and manipulated content during this constantly evolving and shifting crisis,” she added. The platform had “assembled a leadership group to assess the situation” shortly after news broke about the attack, Yaccarino said.

A slew of mischaracterized videos and other posts went viral on X over the weekend, alarming experts who track the spread of misinformation and offering the latest example of social media platforms’ struggle to deal with a flood of falsehoods during a major geopolitical event.

Since the attack on Israel, Yaccarino said X had acted to “remove or label tens of thousands of pieces of content” that break its rules on violent speech, manipulated media and graphic media. It had also responded to more than 80 “take down requests” from EU authorities to remove content.

“Community Notes” — which allow X users to fact check false posts — are visible on “thousands of posts, generating millions of impressions,” she wrote.

According to Yaccarino, notes related to the conflict take about five hours on average to show up after a post is created, a revelation that could fuel concerns that fake or manipulated content is being seen by thousands — or in some cases millions — of people before being moderated.

Acknowledging receipt of Yaccarino’s letter Thursday, Breton said on X that the the Digital Services Act enforcement team “will analyse the reply and decide on next steps.”

The law is one of the most ambitious efforts by policymakers anywhere to regulate tech giants and companies face billions in fines for violating the act.

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