The European Commission sent an official request to the parent companies of Facebook and TikTok regarding the moderation of their platforms in light of the recent war in Israel. The Thursday request was disposed under the terms of the E.U.’s Digital Services Act (DSA).
The commission is requesting that the companies report on the measures taken to reduce the dissemination of incitement, violent content, and misinformation by their users who are commenting on the rapidly evolving military situation in the Middle East.
The current hostilities, started by an attack by the Hamas terror group on Israel, is one of the first major conflicts to happen during the globalization of social media. Terrorist organizations throughout the world have found these internet forums to be an effective way to proliferate their ideology, both by their own members and sympathetic online supporters.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, released a statement about the E.U. request saying that after the Oct. 7 attack, “we quickly established a special operations center staffed with experts, including fluent Hebrew and Arabic speakers, to closely monitor and respond to this rapidly evolving situation.”
Last week, the E.U. made a similar request to the social media company X.
Facebook and TikTok have the regulatory designation of “Very Large Online Platforms” (VLOP) under the DSA, and thus are statutorily required to “comply with the most stringent rules” of the legislation. To be subject to this designation an online company must have over 45 million users per month in the E.U.
The DSA requires all VLOP firms to implement corporate policies that mitigate risk issues related to illegality, public security, consumer protection, public health, and E.U. electoral processes. The companies regulated under this law must also make their compliance data available to relevant national authorities. Failure to comply with the rules can subject the offending company to civil penalties of as much as 6% of their global revenues.
The two popular online platforms have until Oct. 25 to respond to the order.