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Critics of censorship might consider the recent decision by the European Commission to halt advertising on Elon Musk’s social media platform, X, as a controversial step. The decision, rooted in concern over the spread of alleged disinformation on the platform, was formally conveyed in a memo by the Commission’s Deputy Chief Spokesperson, Dana Spinant. POLITICO’s Brussels Playbook, which managed to obtain the note, reveals Spinant citing how misrepresentation, especially around the Israel-Hamas conflict, jeopardized the Commission’s reputation.
The Commission’s action is associated with the rising scrutiny faced by X in Europe, primarily due to the region’s newly implemented Digital Services Act (DSA), also known as the EU censorship act.
This piece of legislation governing online speech supposedly prompted the Commission to question X’s compliance, particularly regarding its handling of illicit content and misinformation related to the October 7 attack by Hamas.
However, the European Commission doesn’t mention another factor that could have weighed into its decision to cut ads on X – namely that it’s suddenly the subject of an official complaint over its privacy-invasive advertising on the platform.
The organization known as noyb has lodged a complaint against the EU Commission’s Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs. The accusation alleges that the Commission leveraged unlawful micro-targeting techniques on X, in an attempt to advocate for their contentious chat control regulation in September 2023.
(Get all the details about this here.)
The desperate campaign to win public favor and subsequently pressure national governments into approving the disputed legislative draft has not only breached democratic norms but also violated the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR), the complaint suggests.