X CEO Yaccarino responds to Israel-Hamas disinformation, but only after EU coercion

X CEO Yaccarino responds to Israel-Hamas disinformation, but only after EU coercion

THE disinformation on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, has entered overdrive amid last week’s war between Israel and Hamas. And the ongoing information war on the platform has not gone unnoticed by the EU.

Earlier this week, European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton published an open letter to Elon Musk via Breton’s X account about how the company may be breaking the law. The letter warned It is believed that X’s inaction on illegal content and disinformation could breach the EU’s new Digital Services Act (DSA).

Moss he answered in kind, very publicly on his platform, telling Breton to provide specific examples of X violating DSA right in the response thread.

However, Musk’s chosen CEO, Linda Yaccarino, appears to be one taking the matter up more seriously. Yaccarino sent the EU a formal response, outlining what X has done in the wake of all the Israel- and Hamas-related disinformation on the platform.

Yaccarino’s letter in full was published from X’s official Global Government Affairs account.

While Yaccarino’s letter easily provides much more about the company’s response to misinformation than Musk’s, it is still extremely lacking in real details.

According to Yaccarino, “shortly after the news of the Hamas attack broke, X assembled a leadership team to assess the situation.” However, no real time frame was provided. Furthermore, it is not clear what came out of this response. Yaccarino went on to list X’s policies regarding sensitive media and manipulated content, as well as hate groups, speech and attacks. But these are already established rules on X.

Linda Yaccarino at Vox Media's 2023 Code Conference

Linda Yaccarino at Vox Media’s 2023 Code Conference
Credit: Jerod Harris/Stringer

Yaccarino provided a vague number of reported posts that were deleted from the platform, but did not provide specific numbers. “Tens of thousands of pieces of content” have been removed. The company also responded to “more than 80 takedown requests” received in the EU.

However, after carefully reading Yaccarino’s letter, it is clear that the majority of X’s moderation comes from its users in the form of the Community Notes feature. Yaccarino said Community Notes, the box embedded in posts where users rate additional context to the content, was “visible on thousands of posts, generating millions of impressions.”

Later in the post, Yaccarino added some specifics about the community notes, saying that “more than 700 unique notes related to ongoing attacks and events” are now on X. There are “an additional 5000+” posts containing community notes such as part of the “media notes” feature. You’ll see community notes on content similar to images and videos that have already been annotated.

However, regular X users have long criticized the time it takes to view community notes on a post. This gives misinformation time to spread across the platform via retweets and shares without the additional context that corrects the misinformation. Yaccarino said that X has been working to speed up the process of displaying a community note on a post. The CEO of

X is not the only social media platform to receive a warning from the EU. Also Breton sent a letter also to the video platform TikTok. However, unlike TikTok, X is the only one of these main platforms a retreat of the EU Disinformation Code, a voluntary agreement to counter disinformation. While the new DSA formalized much of that code into law, Musk’s removal of X from that group signaled to the EU how much the company prioritizes its role in moderating content and falsehoods on its platform.

At the moment, the EU has yet to answer whether it is satisfied with X’s claims or whether it intends to further investigate the company for which sanctions could be imposed.

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