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EU digital chief urges TikTok, X to increase clean-up efforts

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Video sharing app TikTok and social media platform X both need to step up their efforts to counter illegal hate speech, European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova said after meetings with their executives on Tuesday.

Jourova, the EU commissioner responsible for the digital economy, met TikTok Chief Executive Shou Chew and X's head of global affairs, Nick Pickles, as the European Union investigates Big Tech's efforts to remove harmful content.

The tech giants have faced mounting scrutiny in the past month, with a surge in harmful content and disinformation in the wake of the attack on Israel on Oct. 7 by Hamas, which the EU considers to be a terrorist organisation.

The EU is also looking to prevent disinformation iNFLuencing the EU parliament election in June 2024.

Under the European Union's Digital Services Act, which entered into force a year ago, very large tech platforms and search engines must do more to tackle harmful and illegal content or risk fines.

TikTok has said artificial intelligence and more than 6,000 moderators have removed millions of posts since the Hamas attack, and that it has a large team specially dedicated to removing violent content linked to children.

Jourova said on X and via her spokesperson that she was pleased by some improvements and urged TikTok to continue stepping up its work against illegal and harmful content and child abuse.

For X, Jourova said it had insufficient staff speaking some EU languages to counter disinformation and expressed concern about reports of high numbers of violent and illegal content. According to Jourova's spokesperson, X's Pickles said violent content had flourished online after the Hamas attack, not only on X.

Jourova, who has previously met Meta and YouTube executives, said the lower language coverage than on other large platforms made her worried about X's preparedness for EU elections.

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