EU opens formal inquiry against X, testing new digital rights laws

The European Union on Monday made social network X the first platform to face new scrutiny under its stringent new internet safety rules.

The EU’s Digital Services Act is meant to make the internet safer and more fairly competitive. Its rules are designed to help counter the spread of misinformation, scams, and other harmful content online. 

Certain rules are aimed specifically at what it calls Very Large Online Platforms, such as X, which have more than 45 million users across the EU.

On Monday the European Commission announced an inquiry into X, which might have breached some of those rules.

The European Commission’s formal infringement proceedings will hold X accountable for illegal content, risks to electoral processes, mandatory research access and alleged deceptive design around X’s blue checkmarks.

It will investigate whether X is doing enough to curb hate speech, and whether the tools its users have to report illegal content are effective.

The investigation comes after the EU asked X for details about how the company was handling speech and misinformation about the Israel-Hamas war in October. At the time, the EU said the way X responded to the questions would determine whether a formal inquiry opened.

EU officials have said X is the worst site online concerning the spread of fake news.