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EU warns Google over YouTube disinformation in wake of Hamas attack

BRUSSELS – The EU’s top tech enforcer, commissioner Thierry Breton, warned Google parent Alphabet on Friday to be wary of potential “illegal content and disinformation” on its YouTube platform.

In the latest in a series of messages to tech chief executive officers that has already seen him sparring with Elon Musk on X, formerly Twitter, the EU industry commissioner wrote to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.

The letter was also posted online on the Bluesky social media platform, an upstart rival to Mr Musk’s X, and warns YouTube to comply with the terms of the EU’s new Digital Services Act (DSA).

“Following the terrorist acts carried out by Hamas against Israel, we are seeing a surge of illegal content and disinformation being disseminated in the EU via certain platforms”, Mr Breton wrote.

This warning mirrored the previous letters to Mr Musk, Facebook and Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg and Chinese giant TikTok’s Shou Zi Chew earlier this week.

Mr Breton noted that YouTube in particular is used by many children and teenagers and warned that Google thus has a special responsibility to protect users from propaganda and violent or harmful images.

“Notwithstanding the fact that my team will follow up with a specific request on a number of issues to establish DSA compliance, I urge you to proactively report in a prompt, accurate and complete manner to the aspects raised in this letter,” Mr Breton wrote.

“As you know, following the opening of a potential investigation and a finding of non-compliance, penalties can be imposed.” AFP

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