Northern Ireland

Social media X and Dublin government continue dispute over Elon Musk's company's reaction on day of Dublin riot

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee was the subject of a motion of confidence. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA)
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee was the subject of a motion of confidence. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA) Minister for Justice Helen McEntee was the subject of a motion of confidence. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA)

Elon Musk's company X, formerly known as Twitter, has denied claims by an Irish government minister it failed to engage with Dublin on the day of riots in the city in November.

In the Dáil last week, Justice Minister Helen McEntee claimed all the social media companies, except X, had actively engaged with Gardaí to take down provocative material relating to the riots.

“I think the company has a responsibility to be responsible, and where they did not take down content on Thursday it added to, and I think fuelled, some of what happened. So I would like to engage with them on what they plan to do moving forward,” she said.

X owner Elon Musk  Picture by Ringo H.W. Chiu.
X owner Elon Musk Picture by Ringo H.W. Chiu. X owner Elon Musk Picture by Ringo H.W. Chiu.

In a statement on the social media platform, X’s global government affairs account said "it had taken action on more than 1,230 pieces of content under its rules relating to the riots that occurred on November 23rd."

The Irish Government won a vote of confidence in Ms McEntee on Tuesday. The government won the vote by 83 votes to 63. There was one abstention.

Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald had accused Ms McEntee of failing "abysmally" in her responsibilities, as the Dáil debated the motion of confidence in her post following a stabbing attack and violent riot in Dublin city centre last month.

Riot police form a cordon in Dublin's city centre.  Picture, Patricia MacBride.
Riot police form a cordon in Dublin's city centre. Picture, Patricia MacBride. Riot police form a cordon in Dublin's city centre. Picture, Patricia MacBride.

A five-year-old girl was taken in a critical condition to hospital and two other children were injured after the knife attack near a school on Parnell Square East in Dublin's inner city. 

A woman aged in her 30s who worked as a carer, and who has been called "heroic" after she tried to protect children during the attack, was also seriously injured.

Gardaí said a person of interest in the case was receiving treatment in hospital.

In the following burning and looting involving an estimated 500 people, gardaí calculated damage worth tens of millions of euro was done to public infrastructure.

X said staff met the social media regulator, Coimisiún na Meán, a day after the riot, on November 24, to discuss its response, it said.

“The gardaí did not make any formal requests to us until late Monday, 27th November. We responded promptly. The only appeal we have received from the gardaí relating to the enforcement of our rules is for a single post. We hope the Minister will clarify her remarks.”

On social media, Ms McEntee's party stated: "Some social media companies cooperated with An Garda Síochána to take down inflammatory content last Thursday. Unfortunately, @X did not. That's why we are taking action to ensure social media companies are held to account." Elon Musk was personally tagged.

X replied: "This is inaccurate. We have proactively taken action on more than 1,230 pieces of content under our rules relating to the riots."