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YouTube is the latest large platform to face EU scrutiny regarding the war in Israel

European Commissioner Thierry Breton sent a letter to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai reminding him of the company’s obligations under the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) as a large online platform to keep illegal content and disinformation from being shared on YouTube surrounding Israel’s war with Hamas.

“Following the terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas against Israel, we are seeing a surge of illegal content and disinformation being disseminated in the EU via certain platforms,” Breton wrote. He added that YouTube has an obligation to protect children and teens in the EU from violent content on the platform, must promptly take action in response to notices from the EU, and have “proportionate and effective mitigation measures in place” to tackle risks from disinformation.

In a statement to The Verge, YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi said, “following the devastating attacks in Israel and the escalated conflict now underway in Israel and Gaza, we have removed tens of thousands of harmful videos and terminated hundreds of channels. At the same time, our systems continue to connect people with high-quality news and information. Our teams are working around the clock to monitor for harmful footage and remain vigilant to take action quickly if needed on all types of content, including Shorts and livestreams.”

In his letter, Breton also discussed “a second area of pressing concern:” disinformation in elections. “I invite you to inform my team on the details of the measures you have taken to mitigate any deepfakes, also in the light of upcoming elections in Poland, The Netherlands, Lithuania, Belgium, Croatia, Romania and Austria, and the European Parliament elections,” Breton said.

Breton asked that YouTube proactively report relevant information to the EU, but noted that his team will be sending requests on “a number of issues to establish DSA compliance.”

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