The European Union (EU) has initiated investigations into social media giants Meta, the parent company of Facebook, and TikTok, focusing on their efforts to curb the dissemination of “illegal content and disinformation” following the recent Hamas attack on Israel.
The European Commission has formally requested information from Meta and TikTok under the EU’s new digital content law. Meta’s probe centers on the spread of illegal content and disinformation related to the Hamas-Israel conflict, while TikTok is under scrutiny for its measures against terrorist, violent content, and hate speech. Both companies have until October 25 to respond, with a November 8 deadline for less urgent aspects of the inquiry.
The EU’s crackdown on disinformation has escalated in the wake of significant global events, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the recent Hamas attack on Israel. The Digital Services Act (DSA), which became active for “very large” platforms like Meta and TikTok with over 45 million monthly European users, empowers the EU to penalize illegal online content with fines reaching up to six percent of a company’s global turnover.
EU’s internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, issued warning letters to tech CEOs, urging them to combat illegal content following the Hamas attack. The EU aims to mitigate the impact of disinformation, which poses risks such as stigmatization of communities and destabilization of democratic structures.
Social media platforms, including Meta, are contemplating the introduction of paid versions of their services in the EU as a response to the stricter regulations.