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EC Probes Possible X Digital Services Act Breaches

The European Commission is investigating whether X breached the Digital Services Act, it said Monday. X didn't immediately comment. It is the first time the EC has opened proceedings under the DSA. X is one of 19 companies the DSA…

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classifies as "very large online platforms" (VLOPs). The VLOPs are required to analyze systemic risks they create from dissemination of illegal content or the harmful effects such content has on fundamental rights (see 2311100001). On the basis of a preliminary investigation, including X's first risk report, transparency report and replies to a formal request for information, the EC said the company may have violated the DSA "in areas linked to risk management, content moderation, dark patterns, advertising transparency and data access for researchers." It launched formal infringement proceedings that will focus on: (1) Compliance with DSA obligations related to countering dissemination of illegal content in the EU. (2) The effectiveness of measures taken to combat information manipulation on the platform, particularly X's "so-called 'Community Notes' system" in the EU. (3) The measures X took to increase its platform's transparency. (4) A suspected deceptive design of the user interface particularly related to checkmarks linked to certain subscription products (the Blue checks). The EC sent an "important signal today" to show that it wants the DSA to change the business models of VLOPs, an EC official said at a briefing. The launch of the inquiry doesn't mean X has breached the DSA, just that the EC has significant grounds to investigate, the official said. Illegal content in the EU is a key area of concern, the official said: X's notification system might not comply with the DSA, and some of its risk assessments for the EU aren't sufficiently detailed, especially in the area of languages monitored for illegal content. Some of the company's mitigation techniques are very broadly defined and may not be effective in combating illegal content such as graphic violence in connection with the Israel-Hamas conflict, the official added. In addition, the way X deals with disinformation relies on a combination of different systems, including blue checks, which may mislead users into believing the checks indicate more trustworthy content, she said. The EC has had strong engagement from all the VLOPs, but it's a "glass half full" because it's unclear whether the serious engagement is enough to mitigate risks, the official said. Asked for a definition of what the EC considers illegal content, the official said the DSA isn't a content moderation rule but an approach to deal with systemic risks and to assess what VLOPs do when they're notified of such content on their sites. The same goes for disinformation, the official said. The EC received examples of material national media authorities flagged, which were sent to X; however, the company did not address them, a second official noted: These include depictions of violent crimes and visible wounds. X's policies forbid publication of this content, but they appear to be available on its site. The EC will continue gathering evidence and, if it finds noncompliance, could impose interim measures, accept commitments from X to remedy the problems or make an infringement decision.