Elon Musk’s social media platform X has defended itself against claims from the European Union that it was failing to tackle disinformation around the violence between Israel and Hamas.
The firm’s CEO Linda Yaccarino wrote in a letter dated Wednesday that the platform had “taken action to remove or label tens of thousands of pieces of content” in the days after the Hamas attack on Israel.
The letter was addressed to EU internal market commissioner Thierry Breton, who had personally criticised Musk on social media on Tuesday, sparking a public clash between the two.
Musk bought the platform, then known as Twitter, last year for $44 billion and sparked widespread alarm by gutting its staff, including its content moderators.
Breton, the EU’s self-styled “digital enforcer”, raised the alarm in letters sent to Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, whose Meta group includes Facebook and Instagram.
He demanded late on Tuesday each of them provide details within 24 hours on how “illegal content and disinformation” is being removed from their platforms in line with the EU’s new Digital Service Act (DSA).
The legislation, which came into effect for large platforms in August, bans illegal online content under threat of fines running as high as six percent of a company’s global turnover.
Breton’s letter to Musk highlighted “violent and terrorist content that appears to circulate on your platform” following Hamas’s weekend operation to kill and take hostage Israelis living close to the boundary with Gaza.
Yaccarino’s letter, published on a corporate X account and reposted by the CEO, said the firm had removed hundreds of accounts linked to the Gaza militant organisation Hamas since violence erupted on Saturday.
It had also taken down posts that involved “violent speech, manipulated media and graphic media”.