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EU Boss Warns Meta’s Zuckerberg About Hamas-Israel Disinformation

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EU Boss Warns Meta’s Zuckerberg About Hamas-Israel Disinformation

It’s not just X/Twitter: The European Union also has put Meta on notice about the urgent need to address a flood of misinformation about the Israel-Hamas conflict to remain in compliance with the EU’s Digital Services Act.

In an Oct. 11 letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, European Union commissioner Thierry Breton did not specifically accuse Meta of hosting “illegal content and disinformation” on its platforms, but he asked the CEO “to be very vigilant to ensure strict compliance with the DSA rules on terms of service, on the requirement of timely, diligent and objective action following notices of illegal content in the EU, and on the need for proportionate and effective mitigation measures.” He set a 24-hour deadline for Meta to respond to the request.

Asked for comment, a Meta spokesperson said in a statement: “After the terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israel on Saturday, we quickly established a special operations center staffed with experts, including fluent Hebrew and Arabic speakers, to closely monitor and respond to this rapidly evolving situation. Our teams are working around the clock to keep our platforms safe, take action on content that violates our policies or local law, and coordinate with third-party fact checkers in the region to limit the spread of misinformation. We’ll continue this work as this conflict unfolds.”

In addition, Breton told Zuckerberg that “we have also been made aware of reports of a significant number of deepfakes and manipulated content which circulated on your platforms and a few still appear online” ahead of recent elections in Slovakia. “I remind you that the DSA requires that the risk of amplification of fake and manipulated images and facts generated with the intention to influence elections is taken extremely seriously in the context of mitigation measures,” Breton wrote.

According to Breton, regarding the issue of election disinformation, “I personally raised your attention when we met in San Francisco in June to the fact that Meta would need to pay particular attention to this issue in order to comply with the DSA, and the topic was covered extensively in the stress test carried out by our teams in July.”

“I remind you that following the opening of a potential investigation and a finding of non-compliance, penalties can be imposed,” Breton said in the letter.

On the issue of election misinformation, the Meta rep said the company’s fact-checking partners covering Slovakia were “actively debunking false claims relating to the elections circulating online.”

“Our Community Standards apply to all content, regardless of whether it is created by AI or a person, and we will take action against content that violates these policies,” the Meta spokesperson said. “AI-generated content is also eligible to be fact-checked by our independent fact-checking partners. When content is fact-checked, we label it and down-rank it in feed, so fewer people see it.”

Breton’s saber-rattling toward Meta comes a day after he delivered a similar warning to Elon Musk over “illegal content and disinformation” about the Israel-Hamas war on X (aka Twitter), also giving Musk 24 hours to respond.

Breton posted a copy of the letter to Zuckerberg on social media.

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