The European Union (EU) has issued a warning to TikTok regarding the spread of “disinformation” on the platform following the recent conflict between Hamas and Israel. The EU urged TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew to take immediate action and ensure compliance with European law within the next 24 hours. This warning comes as social media platforms have seen a surge in misinformation related to the conflict, including doctored images and mislabeled videos.
The EU has previously warned other social media firms, including X (formerly Twitter) and Meta, about similar content. The EU emphasized that TikTok, given its popularity among young people, had a responsibility to protect children and teenagers from violent content, terrorist propaganda, death challenges, and potentially life-threatening content.
TikTok has been given a 24-hour deadline to respond to the EU’s concerns. X and Meta, including Facebook and Instagram, have also received similar warnings from the EU. X responded by stating that it had already removed or flagged tens of thousands of pieces of content since the Hamas attack and had removed hundreds of accounts.
The EU has declined to comment on whether it has received a response from Meta, but ongoing communication with the company’s compliance teams has been reported. Meta has established a special operations center to monitor and respond to the rapidly evolving situation, utilizing experts fluent in Hebrew and Arabic.
In her letter to the EU, X’s CEO, Linda Yaccarino, highlighted the company’s efforts to address the content. X has responded to over 80 requests in the EU to remove content and has added contextual notes to certain posts. These notes appear on over 5,000 posts that contain matching images or videos, with the number increasing as relevant content is reused.
The EU introduced new laws in August 2023 called the Digital Services Act (DSA) to regulate online content. The DSA requires very large online platforms to proactively remove illegal content and demonstrate compliance upon request. Failure to comply can result in heavy fines or, as a last resort, a temporary ban from the EU.
The EU has not revealed its next steps in relation to TikTok, X, and Meta but has the authority to conduct interviews, inspections, and formal investigations if necessary.