The European Union (EU) has issued a warning to TikTok, following similar warnings to X (formerly Twitter) and Meta, regarding the presence of Hamas-related videos on their platforms. In a letter to TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, the EU urged the company to accelerate its efforts in addressing this issue and requested a response outlining its compliance with European law within 24 hours.
Misinformation concerning the conflict, including manipulated images and mislabeled videos, has proliferated on social media platforms. The EU had previously cautioned X and Meta about such content, emphasizing the need for TikTok to be especially vigilant due to its popularity among young users.
EU Commissioner Thierry Breton stressed that TikTok bears a particular responsibility to shield children and teenagers from violent, terrorist, and life-threatening content. A similar 24-hour warning was issued to X, formerly known as Twitter, and Meta.
X CEO Linda Yaccarino responded by indicating that the platform had removed or flagged tens of thousands of pieces of content since the outbreak of the conflict, along with the removal of hundreds of accounts. Meta received a similar warning and deadline from the EU. The EU has not disclosed whether a response from Meta has been received but stated that discussions with the company’s compliance teams are ongoing.
A Meta spokesperson noted the establishment of a special operations center to monitor and address the evolving situation, particularly following terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israel. They emphasized their commitment to maintaining platform safety, enforcing content policies and local laws, and collaborating with third-party fact-checkers to reduce the spread of misinformation during the conflict.
Yaccarino emphasized that X had responded to over 80 requests in the EU to remove content and had added contextual notes to specific posts. These notes provide additional information about posts and have appeared on over 5,000 posts that contain matching images or videos.
In response to claims of hosting illegal content, Yaccarino stated that X had not received any notices from Europol. EU Commissioner Breton has called on X and Meta to demonstrate their timely, diligent, and objective actions.
In August 2023, the EU introduced the Digital Services Act (DSA), which mandates that “very large online platforms” proactively remove illegal content and demonstrate measures taken upon request. The EU clarified that it is currently unable to comment on the next steps in these specific cases but explained the potential actions under the DSA, including interviews, inspections, fines, and, as a last resort, temporary platform bans within the EU.