EU Identifies X (Formerly Twitter) as the Platform with Highest Disinformation Activity

A study commissioned by the European Commission suggests that X, formerly known as Twitter, has the highest proportion of disinformation among six major social networks. This study analyzed over 6,000 unique social media posts on platforms including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, X, and YouTube. The research focused on Spain, Poland, and Slovakia, which are considered vulnerable to disinformation due to elections or proximity to the Ukraine conflict.

According to the study, Twitter had the largest “ratio of discoverability” of disinformation, indicating a high proportion of misleading content, while YouTube had the lowest. The European Union’s Values and Transparency Commissioner, Vera Jourova, cautioned X, stating that they must adhere to existing regulations.

The study was conducted by TrustLab, a disinformation monitoring start-up, as part of efforts to support the EU’s code of practice on disinformation. X, along with other social networks, initially agreed to the voluntary code in 2018 but withdrew from it during Elon Musk’s leadership. However, X will be subject to the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), which regulates the conduct of major tech platforms and intends to formalize the voluntary code into a code of conduct under the act.

Ms. Jourova emphasized that leaving the code of practice would not exempt X from DSA enforcement, with potential fines of up to six percent of global turnover for non-compliant companies.

The European Union previously accused social media companies of failing to prevent large-scale Russian disinformation campaigns following the Ukraine invasion, stating that Kremlin-backed accounts had extended their reach and influence in 2023. Ms. Jourova warned that Russia was using disinformation as a “multi-million euro weapon” to manipulate Europeans, highlighting the seriousness of the issue in the context of the Ukraine conflict and upcoming European elections. Additionally, efforts to address AI-generated disinformation in preparation for elections were also discussed.

X, formerly known as Twitter, has not yet responded to the study’s findings.

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