Major social media firms were ordered to censor their platforms by the European Commission during the recent riots in the Irish capital Dublin, reports have claimed.
Sparked by the stabbing of three children on November 23, Ireland’s Government has tried to blame the outbreak of rioting on online discourse and the so-called “far-right”.
According to a report by Ireland’s State-owned broadcaster RTÉ, the EC directly contacted social media giants including X, Facebook and Instagram-owner Meta, and TikTok about the street violence in Dublin.
Eurocrats warned platforms that they must obey the bloc’s new censorship rules as outlined under the Digital Services Act (DSA). The act, combined with nation-state-level legislation, requires large tech firms to quickly censor “hate speech” and “disinformation” when it is brought to their attention.
The warnings are said to have been issued after Irish Government officials triggered an alert outlined by the DSA that prompts European Union intervention in a “crisis scenario”.
With the legislation having only partly come into force in late August, Ireland is believed to be the first EU Member State to have triggered such an alert.
Brussels Signal approached Meta, TikTok and X for comment regarding the situation. At the time of writing, neither TikTok or Meta had responded, while X replied with an automatic email stating its staff were “busy”.
US technology billionaire Elon Musk accused Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar of "hating the Irish people" as he slammed government plans to crack down on freedoms in the country. https://t.co/dsNhTDDThm
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) November 27, 2023
Since the riots, the Irish Government has attempted to shift the blame for the violence onto the country’s “far-right”, seemingly trying to use the civil unrest to fuel efforts to pass what is seen by many as its draconian hate-speech bill.
Such a push has been met with backlash within the country and overseas. Ireland’s ruling coalition has been accused of focusing more on street violence than the multiple child stabbing that triggered it.
US billionaire X owner Elon Musk has been one of the most high-profile foreign critics of the Government, accusing Taoiseach, or Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar of “hating the Irish people”.
The country’s Justice Minister Helen McEntee is now demanding talks with X officials over its moderation policies.
“I will be seeking to meet with X myself because I think the company have a responsibility to be responsible,” she said, adding that she felt posts on the website “fuelled … what happened”.
Opposition groups are turning on McEntee, with left-wing politicians blaming the minister for the violence.
Her attempts to rally support for tougher restrictions have also angered backbenchers within her Government.
Coalition party Senators have vowed not to vote for a new bill that would hand NGOs in the country influence within the Irish national police force.
The child stabbings in Dublin last week are far more seismic than most media are acknowledging, both for Ireland and for the wider EU, writes @jrfjeffrey.@ajmcq1993 | @patricej36 | @spikedonline | @Independent_ie | @peter_caddle https://t.co/eLt3D0fwpd
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) November 28, 2023