European Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova has called on TikTok and social media company X to intensify their efforts to combat illegal hate speech.
Following her discussions with TikTok CEO Shou Chew and X’s Global Affairs Head Nick Pickles, Jourova emphasized the need for action as the EU scrutinizes how well Big Tech is managing the removal of harmful content.
This scrutiny comes especially after an escalation in offensive content and misinformation following the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas, which the EU labels a terrorist group.
The EU is eager to curtail the spread of disinformation ahead of the parliamentary elections in June 2024. Under the EU’s Digital Services Act, which came into effect a year ago, major tech companies and search engines are obligated to address harmful and illegal content more aggressively or face penalties.
TikTok has implemented artificial intelligence and employed over 6,000 moderators to delete millions of posts since the Hamas attack, focusing particularly on violent content involving children.
Jourova acknowledged some improvements via X and through her spokesperson but emphasized the need for TikTok to escalate efforts against illegal content and child exploitation.
Regarding X, Jourova expressed concerns about a lack of staff proficient in certain EU languages to combat misinformation and was troubled by reports of an increase in violent and illegal content.
Per her spokesperson, Pickles of X acknowledged the proliferation of violent content across the internet post-Hamas attack, not limited to X alone.
Jourova, who has met with executives from Meta and YouTube previously, voiced concerns about X’s language support being less comprehensive than other major platforms, casting doubt on X’s readiness for the upcoming EU elections.