EU fears destabilisation from disinformation amid Israel-Hamas war

EU fears destabilisation from disinformation amid Israel-Hamas war
EU fears destabilisation from disinformation amid Israel-Hamas war

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - The EU expressed concern yesterday about the growing dangers of disinformation for the bloc, as Brussels urged member states to coordinate faster to tackle illegal content online about the Israel-Hamas war. — AFP pic

STRASBOURG (France), Oct 19 — The EU expressed concern yesterday about the growing dangers of disinformation for the bloc, as Brussels urged member states to coordinate faster to tackle illegal content online about the Israel-Hamas war.

Hamas militants from the Gaza Strip attacked southern Israel on October 7, triggering a war which has left thousands of dead on both sides. There has also been a flood of gory content online, sometimes falsely identified.

The European Union has already urged tech titans including owner Meta, TikTok, X, formerly known as Twitter, and YouTube to crack down on disinformation.

The EU’s top tech enforcer, Thierry Breton, sounded the alarm over the risks for the bloc during a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday.

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“The widespread dissemination of illegal content and disinformation linked to these events carries a clear risk of stigmatisation of certain communities, destabilisation of our democratic structures, not to mention the exposure of our children to violent content,” Breton said.

He also pointed to the attacks in France and Belgium this month that serve as “a dark reminder that the threat is real and present on our soil”.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has already launched an investigation into Elon Musk’s X to determine if it has allowed the spread of illicit content.

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The probe is a first procedure under the EU’s landmark Digital Services Act (DSA) that demands a more aggressive approach to policing content.

Under the DSA, 19 “very large” online platforms including Facebook, Instagram and TikTok must comply with the tougher rules.

The law will apply to all digital services from February 2024.

But the commission on Wednesday urged the 27 member states to coordinate faster with the commission to stop the spread of illegal content.

“We cannot wait for February 17, 2024... to talk to each other and work together,” Breton said.

The commission told member states to quickly identify the national authorities, to be known as Digital Services Coordinators, that will work with it to enforce the DSA.

Most EU countries have yet to formally name coordinators, the commission said. — AFP

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