Rolling Out

X social media platform hit by major global outage

The EU is also investigating the platform due to concerns over violent content
X (Photo credit: Bang Media)

Elon Musk’s X suffered a major outage on Dec. 21.

Thousands of users worldwide were greeted with the message, “Welcome to X!” as they tried to use the micro-blogging site.

In the U.S., more than 74,000 people reported issues. In the U.K. at least 7,000 sent issues to Down Detector.

The app and website going down comes as the official X page teased some improvements are on the way, including filtering posts — and after it was revealed that the European Union has officially accused X of violating its regulations.

Meanwhile, the platform formerly known as Twitter, which was bought by the Tesla billionaire last year in a $44 billion deal, is alleged to have breached rules on combating illegal content, disinformation and transparency.

“Today, we opened formal proceedings against X based on several suspected infringements of the Digital Services Act,” EU’s Digital Commissioner Thierry Breton outlined in a post on the social media platform regarding the alleged breaches. “The opening of proceedings means that the commission will now investigate X’s systems and policies related to certain suspected infringements. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.”

According to Breton, X is suspected of failing to meet its obligations under the Digital Services Act, which imposes stricter rules on major tech companies to safeguard users against extreme content.

The EU can impose substantial fines or suspend companies that do not comply.

X responded to the accusations by stating it is “cooperating with the regulatory process” and emphasized the importance of a process free from political influence while adhering to the law.

The company also affirmed its commitment to creating a safe and inclusive environment on its platform by prioritizing freedom of expression.

It said in a statement it was “important that this process remains free of political influence and follows the law.”

“X is focused on creating a safe and inclusive environment for all users on our platform while protecting freedom of expression, and we will continue to work tirelessly towards this goal,” the firm added in a statement.

These are the first formal proceedings initiated under the DSA, signaling the EU’s intent to hold major tech firms accountable on issues such as spreading disinformation.

Johannes Bahrke, spokesperson for the EU Commission, clarified the proceedings against X mean the EU Commission will investigate its systems and policies related to the suspected infringements without prejudging the outcome.

In October, the EU initiated an investigation into X over concerns about the potential spread of terrorist and violent content, as well as hate speech. The move followed the conflict between Hamas and Israel. X responded by removing hundreds of Hamas-affiliated accounts.

The EU’s current investigation also scrutinizes X’s Community Notes system, designed to allow contributors to comment on post accuracy as a measure against disinformation.

But concerns about content quality on X have heightened since Musk acquired the platform, especially after a reduction in moderators, leading the European Commission to caution about the platform having a significant disinformation problem.

In the U.S., the platform has faced controversies over extremist content, resulting in an advertising boycott, a dispute between Musk and a campaign group and speculation about X potentially facing bankruptcy.

The unfolding investigation underscores the ongoing challenges faced by major social media platforms in maintaining responsible content moderation practices.

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