EU sends formal requests to Meta, TikTok over possible disinformation, illegal content

BretonThierry EU 092321 AP

The European Union (EU) sent formal requests to Meta and TikTok on Thursday for details about their handling of disinformation and illegal content, as the bloc ramps up pressure on social media companies to comply with its new online regulations.

Both companies received warning letters from EU Commissioner Thierry Breton last week, following the outbreak of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas and a resulting deluge of misinformation and graphic content online.

Neither company responded to a request for comment Friday.

The formal request marks a more aggressive step by the EU, which noted in Thursday’s announcement that it could decide to open formal proceedings against Meta or TikTok depending on their responses.

Meta and TikTok have until Wednesday to respond with more information about their “crisis response” and until Nov. 8 to respond to separate concerns about protecting election integrity and minor safety.

While the request to TikTok doesn’t specifically mention the Israel-Hamas conflict, it does ask about the platform’s efforts to stop the spread of terrorist and violent content, hate speech, and disinformation.

X, formerly known as Twitter, received a similar request last week, shortly after responding to a warning letter from Breton. The commissioner said in a post on

The platform has been a particular hotbed of misinformation amid the Israel–Hamas conflict, with old and unrelated photos and videos, and even video game footage, being misrepresented as current and genuine.

While misinformation often spreads online during conflicts, experts have warned that the numerous changes Elon Musk has made to X since buying the social media company last fall could be exacerbating the issue.

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