Breaking: EU threatens Elon Musk with Twitter ban, citing compliance with content moderation rules

Posted 61 days ago

From WWW.FT.COM

The EU has threatened Elon Musk’s Twitter with a European ban unless the billionaire abides by its strict rules on content moderation, setting up a regulatory battle over the future of the social network.

Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner in charge of implementing the bloc’s digital rules, made the threat during a video meeting with Musk on Wednesday, according to people with knowledge of the conversation.

Breton told Musk he must adhere to a checklist of rules, including ditching an “arbitrary” approach to reinstating banned users, pursuing disinformation “aggressively” and agreeing to an “extensive independent audit” of the platform by next year.

Musk was warned that unless he stuck to those rules Twitter risked infringing the EU’s new Digital Services Act, a landmark law that sets the global standard for how Big Tech must police content on the internet. Breton reiterated that the law meant, if in breach, Twitter could face a Europe-wide ban or fines of up to 6 per cent of global turnover.

Twitter’s owner said repeatedly that he thought that the DSA was “very sensible”, according to people briefed on the conversation, adding that he had read the legislation and thought it should be applied everywhere in the world.

However, the EU’s proposed measures appear to be a direct response to the approach that Musk, a self-declared “free speech absolutist”, has taken to moderation, arguing that he would allow all speech on the platform as long as it was legal, although “negative/hate speech” will be “deboosted”.

Musk, who was not immediately available for comment, has previously said Twitter would adhere to all relevant laws.

Among the EU’s demands is that Musk provides clear criteria on which users are at risk of being banned. Musk has reinstated Donald Trump’s account after holding a poll of users on whether the former US president should be allowed to return to the site.... (Read more)