The social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, has announced that it has removed hundreds of accounts affiliated with Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that launched a deadly attack on Israel on October 7. X said that there is no place on its platform for terrorist organizations or violent extremist groups and that it is committed to serving the public conversation and addressing any illegal content.
The move came after European Union industry chief Thierry Breton issued a 24-hour ultimatum to X’s owner, Elon Musk, urging him to combat the spread of disinformation and ensure compliance with the new EU online content regulations. Breton voiced concerns over the platform’s alleged use in distributing illegal content and disinformation within the EU. Under the newly implemented EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), large online platforms like X and Meta’s Facebook are required to take more proactive measures to remove illegal content and address threats to public security and civic discourse.
X CEO responds to EU ultimatum
X’s CEO, Linda Yaccarino, responded to Breton’s ultimatum in a letter, stating that X had assembled a leadership group to evaluate the situation promptly and had removed or labeled tens of thousands of posts, including illegal content, since the Israel-Hamas war erupted. She also said that X’s Community Notes feature, which allows users to append context to posts, helped millions of users share and understand posts.
Yaccarino expressed X’s willingness to engage further with the EU and its team, including holding a meeting to address any specific concerns. She also said that X had responded to more than 80 takedown requests from the EU within the required time frame and had not received any notices from Europol regarding illegal content on its platform.
Elon Musk faces criticism for his role in X
While Yaccarino defended X’s actions, Elon Musk faced criticism for his role in undermining X’s efforts to curb disinformation and illegal content. Musk himself recommended that users follow accounts known for spreading false or misleading information, in a post on Sunday that has since been deleted. He also tweeted that he takes his actions in the open and that he does not do any backroom deals.
Musk has made changes to X’s content policies and trust-and-safety team since he acquired the platform in 2022. He loosened rules, cut trust-and-safety employees after previously saying he would expand the team, reinstated once-banned accounts and allowed people to pay for a checkmark on the social network. Researchers say that these changes have consequences for X’s ability to handle geopolitical crises and protect the public conversation.
Israel-Hamas war continues with high casualties
Meanwhile, the war between Israel and Hamas continues with high casualties on both sides. The death toll in Israel since the Hamas attack on October 7 has jumped to 1,300 and some 3,300 have been injured, including 28 in critical condition and 350 in serious condition. The fate of an estimated 150 people abducted and taken to the Gaza Strip during the attack by Hamas is still unclear.
Israel has launched a ground offensive into Gaza, aiming to destroy Hamas’ tunnels and rocket launchers. The Israeli military says it has struck more than 1,000 targets in Gaza, killing more than 500 militants. However, Palestinian sources say that more than 2,400 people have been killed in Gaza, mostly civilians, including more than 600 children.
The international community has called for an immediate ceasefire and a peaceful resolution of the conflict. The United Nations Security Council has held several emergency meetings but has failed to agree on a joint statement or action. The United States, Israel’s main ally, has expressed support for Israel’s right to self-defense but has also urged restraint and de-escalation.