The social network X, formerly known as Twitter, is the largest generator of fake news, according to a senior European Union official who asked owner Elon Musk to abide by the bloc’s legislation intended to combat misinformation.
Google, TikTok, Microsoft, and Meta also need to do more to combat misinformation, much of it emanating from Russia, which is using social media to wage a “war of ideas” against democracy, according to European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova.
This is especially true ahead of the next elections. At a news conference in Brussels, she declared that Moscow’s disinformation campaign “is a multimillion-euro weapon of mass manipulation aimed both internally at the Russians as well as at Europeans and the rest of the world.”
Big internet platforms must handle the potential of online meddling, she added, with elections in Slovakia and Poland set for the coming weeks and a bloc-wide vote next year.
Kremlin officials as well as other bad guys “will try to use the design features of the platforms to manipulate,” Jourova warned. She was giving an update on the 2022 Code of Practice on Disinformation for the 27-nation EU.
The voluntary code was signed last year by Google, TikTok, Microsoft, Facebook, Instagram, and its parent company Meta, but Twitter withdrew after Musk acquired the platform.
According to Jourova, X is “the platform with the largest ratio of misinformation posts.”
In response to a request for comment sent to the company’s press department through email, an artificially generated response stated, “Busy now, please check back later.”
In a study of six online platforms in Poland, Slovakia, and Spain, the EU’s executive body, the European Commission, concluded that Twitter had the highest incidence of misinformation and the highest proportion of misinformation actors.
According to the study, disinformation is “most discoverable” on Twitter. Musk was forewarned by Jourova that “he is not off the hook” merely because his business abandoned the code.
The Digital Services Act, a stringent new set of binding European rules, now includes the code and holds the largest online platforms, including X, to the greatest standards of inspection.
These days, “there are obligations given by the hard law, so my message for Twitter is: ‘You have to comply with the hard law, and we will be watching what you are doing,'” she said.
Online platforms are required to adhere to the code’s commitment to disinformation reduction measures and submit reports on a regular basis. Their first six-month reports, which detail how they’re keeping to those commitments, were made public on Tuesday after they submitted “baseline” reports.