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EU expands warning over pro-Hamas content on social media

Information on Islamist group Hamas’s attack on Israel must be credible, warns EU. Picture: AFP

Information on Islamist group Hamas’s attack on Israel must be credible, warns EU. Picture: AFP

Published Oct 12, 2023


The European Union has expanded its warning that tech companies must remove pro-Hamas content from their platforms, or face legal penalties.

Following the militant Islamist group’s attack on Israel, social media firms have seen a surge in misinformation related to the conflict, including doctored images and mislabelled videos, alongside images of graphic violence.

On Tuesday, EU industry chief Thierry Breton told Elon Musk to curb disinformation on his messaging platform, X, warning that it was being used to disseminate illegal content and false information in the wake of recent violence in the Middle East.

Breton issued a similar warning to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday, urging the company to ensure strict compliance with European law.

Now, the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, has sought to remind all social media companies they are legally required to prevent the spread of harmful content related to Hamas.

“Content circulating online that can be associated to Hamas qualifies as terrorist content, is illegal, and needs to be removed under both the DSA (Digital Services Act) and TCO (Terrorist Content Online) Regulation,” a commission spokesperson said.

“The commission will fully apply the DSA and monitor the full implementation of the TCO. The commission urges online platforms to fully comply with EU rules.”

The recently implemented Digital Services Act requires large online platforms, including X and Meta’s Facebook, to remove illegal content and to take measures to tackle the risks to public security and civic discourse.

Any firm found in breach of the DSA faces a fine worth up to 6% of global turnover, and repeat offenders could even be banned from operating in Europe altogether.