Israel vs Hamas War: EU Warns Facebook and Instagram to Remove Hamas Content or Face Consequences

Israel vs Hamas War: EU Warns Facebook and Instagram to Remove Hamas Content or Face Consequences

Israel vs Hamas War: EU Warns Facebook and Instagram to Remove Hamas Content or Face Consequences

/ EU warns Meta to remove Hamas content or face consequences in ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. Urgent action required by Meta

By Babloo Farkade.

Oct 12, 2023, 16:56 PM IST

European Commissioner Thierry Breton has delivered an ultimatum to Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, warning them to swiftly remove pro-Hamas content from their platforms or face potential consequences under new EU regulations. The move comes in the wake of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas and amid concerns of the dissemination of illegal content and disinformation across the European Union.

In a strongly-worded letter addressed to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Commissioner Breton called for heightened vigilance in policing content related to Hamas and cautioned that failure to do so could lead to the company’s violation of new European Union regulations. Breton demanded that Zuckerberg respond to the EU’s concerns within a strict 24-hour timeframe.

The letter emphasizes the urgency of removing illegal terrorist content and hate speech from Meta’s platforms in light of the escalating conflict in Israel. Commissioner Breton underlined that “following the terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas against Israel,” there is clear evidence that Meta’s platforms are being exploited to disseminate illegal content and disinformation within the EU. He further revealed that the European Commission has witnessed a surge in such content within the EU and urged Meta to take immediate action.

“I urgently invite you to ensure that your systems are effective. Needless to say, I also expect you to be in contact with the relevant law enforcement authorities and Europol and ensure that you respond promptly to any requests,” the letter states. Breton stressed the importance of Meta’s strict compliance with the Digital Services Act (DSA) rules, especially in terms of service, timely and diligent response to notices of illegal content in the EU, and the implementation of proportionate and effective mitigation measures.

In response to these grave concerns, Meta released a statement through a company spokesperson. The statement revealed that Meta had established a “special operations center with experts, including fluent Hebrew and Arabic speakers” in response to the recent Hamas attacks on Israel. The spokesperson also highlighted the company’s commitment to working tirelessly to ensure the safety of their platforms, taking swift action against content that breaches their policies or local laws, and cooperating with third-party fact-checkers in the region to curb the spread of misinformation. Meta assured the public that these efforts would continue throughout the ongoing conflict.

Notably, Commissioner Breton did not limit his warnings to Meta alone. He sent a similar letter to Elon Musk, owner of X, expressing concerns about illegal content being spread on Musk’s social network. Breton called upon Musk to take prompt and necessary action to address these issues, underlining the gravity of the situation.

The ultimatum issued by the EU signifies the increasing pressure on tech giants to curb the dissemination of illegal content and disinformation during times of international conflict. Meta’s response and its subsequent actions will likely play a pivotal role in determining the future relationship between tech companies and regulatory bodies in the European Union.