The European Commission has made the decision to discontinue its advertising on social media platform X, owned Elon Musk, due to widespread concerns regarding the dissemination of disinformation. According to an internal note obtained POLITICO’s Brussels Playbook, Dana Spinant, the Commission’s Deputy Chief Spokesperson, addressed all heads of service and directors general, expressing the necessity for a temporary suspension of advertising on the platform to avoid any potential harm to the Commission’s reputation.
The scrutiny surrounding X has amplified in Europe following the introduction of the bloc’s Digital Services Act (DSA), a law focused on content moderation. The Commission, responsible for enforcing the DSA, recently sent a formal request for information to X in order to gain insight into how the company handles illegal content and disinformation linked to the Israel-Hamas war, specifically the October 7 attack carried out Hamas.
Despite the suspension of paid advertising, EU services will still be able to utilize the platform for communication purposes through Commission services’ profile pages. Nevertheless, the Commission’s communications department has taken action to halt any paid advertising on the platform.
Spinant stated that alternative platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook, as well as digital advertising on websites, will be considered. The Commission is also exploring new platforms to diversify its social media presence.
This development arises after the Commission faced criticism for engaging in targeted advertising on X. As reported POLITICO, the institution’s home affairs department launched an advertising campaign in September, specifically targeting groups of X users based on their religious and political beliefs. This included users categorized as “anti-Christian” or those who showed interest in Italian leader Giorgia Meloni or Irish nationalist party Sinn Féin. The campaign aimed to rally support for the Commission’s contentious proposal for a law that would mandate social media and messaging platforms to scan all user content for child sexual abuse material (CSAM). Critics argue that this initiative infringes on privacy rights and undermines encrypted communications.
Spinant’s letter made it clear that purchasing ads that target user profiles based on sensitive personal information would violate the DSA. The Commission emphasizes the importance of adhering to the rules it seeks to enforce as a regulator for major online platforms.
Q: Why did the European Commission stop advertising on social media platform X?
A: The Commission decided to halt advertising on platform X due to concerns regarding the spread of disinformation.
Q: What is the Digital Services Act (DSA)?
A: The DSA is a new content moderation law introduced the European bloc.
Q: Can EU services still use platform X for communication?
A: Yes, EU services can continue to communicate on platform X through Commission services’ profile pages.
Q: What alternative platforms will be considered the Commission?
A: The Commission may explore platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook for advertising purposes.
Q: Why did the Commission face criticism regarding its use of advertising on platform X?
A: The Commission faced criticism for engaging in targeted advertising based on religious and political beliefs, potentially violating the DSA.