The European Union’s industry chief, Thierry Breton, has issued a strict 24-hour ultimatum to Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, demanding immediate action to combat the spread of disinformation on its platforms following a recent surprise attack by the Palestinian Islamist group, Hamas, on Israel.
In a letter addressed to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Breton emphasized the importance of adhering to the Digital Services Act (DSA) rules, which mandate very large online platforms to swiftly remove illegal online content from their platforms, reported Reuters.
Breton urged Zuckerberg to ensure that Meta complies diligently with the DSA regulations on terms of service and the necessity of taking timely, objective, and effective actions in response to notices of illegal content within the European Union.
Breton’s letter comes in the wake of concerns about the rapid spread of disinformation and propaganda related to the recent Hamas attack. European authorities are increasingly vigilant regarding such content’s impact on public opinion and the potential to incite violence.
In parallel, the European Commission has reminded all social media companies of their legal obligations to prevent the dissemination of harmful content associated with Palestinian militant group Hamas. Notably, Hamas is officially designated as a terrorist organization within the European Union.
A spokesperson for the European Commission emphasized, “Content linked to Hamas circulating online is considered terrorist content, which is illegal, and it must be promptly removed in compliance with both the Digital Services Act and the Terrorist Content Online Regulation.”
The European Union’s actions underscore its commitment to combatting disinformation and maintaining strict control over the spread of harmful content, particularly when it involves organizations considered terrorist groups within the EU. Meta now faces a tight deadline to demonstrate its proactive measures in curbing disinformation on its platforms within the specified 24-hour timeframe.