European Union officials have warned social media giant TikTok sternly about what they call “illegal content and disinformation” on the platform. This content is reportedly linked to the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel. The EU officials have called on TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew to respond to these allegations within a 24-hour window.
In a letter addressed to Chew, European Commissioner Thierry Breton pointed out that any failure to comply with European Union laws about content moderation could result in penalties. This is not an isolated incident, as it marks the third letter Breton sent to major social media platforms this week. Before this, he had sent similar warnings to X, the venue formerly known as Twitter and Meta.
The Impact of the Digital Services Act
A recently passed EU law known as the Digital Services Act came into effect in August. This law applies to large online platforms, including those addressed by Breton this week. The Digital Services Act sets out specific obligations for social media companies, particularly about user privacy and safety. This law is the backbone of the EU’s recent actions against these platforms.
Since the commencement of the war, Breton stated that TikTok has allegedly been disseminating graphic videos and misleading content on its platform. He wrote, “I therefore invite you to urgently step up your efforts and ensure your systems are effective, and report on the crisis measures taken to my team” in the letter that he shared on X.
Currently, TikTok still needs to respond to the request for comment. The situation highlights the growing concern over using social media platforms as conduits for spreading disinformation, especially during conflict. It also underscores the urgency for platform owners and operators to take robust measures to combat this growing issue.