A study commissioned by the European Commission has found that X, formerly known as Twitter, exhibits the highest proportion of disinformation among six major social networks.
The study analyzed over 6,000 unique social media posts across Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, X, and YouTube, focusing on content in three countries – Spain, Poland, and Slovakia – identified as particularly susceptible to disinformation due to elections or proximity to the war in Ukraine.
X has the highest “ratio of discoverability” of disinformation, indicating that it contained the most significant proportion of sensitive content composed of disinformation. In contrast, according to the study, YouTube had the lowest ratio of disinformation.
Vera Jourova, the EU’s Values and Transparency Commissioner, warned X: “My message for X is, you have to comply with the hard law. We’ll be watching what you’re doing.”
She emphasized that X, along with other large tech platforms, would be subject to the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), which aims to regulate the conduct of these platforms. The voluntary code of practice on disinformation, which X and others signed up to in 2018, is set to be converted into a code of conduct under the DSA.
Despite X’s withdrawal from the voluntary code under Elon Musk’s leadership, the company will still be held accountable under the fully enforced DSA. Companies that fail to comply with the act could face fines of up to six percent of their global turnover.
“Mr Musk knows that he is not off the hook by leaving the code of practice because now we have the Digital Services Act fully enforced,” Jourova said.
The European Union has been increasingly concerned about the spread of disinformation, particularly in the context of Russian disinformation campaigns following the invasion of Ukraine.
The EU accused social media companies of failing to halt “large-scale” Russian disinformation efforts amplified by Kremlin-backed accounts. The EU’s Values and Transparency Commissioner described these efforts as a “multi-million euro weapon of mass manipulation” aimed at Europeans and emphasized the urgency of addressing this risk, especially in the context of the war in Ukraine and upcoming European elections.
Additionally, the EU is actively working to combat AI-generated disinformation ahead of elections, with discussions with organizations like OpenAI to address these challenges.