European Union Bureaucrats Threaten Elon Musk With Twitter Ban Unless He Follows Strict Rules on Content Moderation

The European Union threatened to ban Twitter in a videoconference today with CEO Elon Musk unless the social media platform follows the EU’s strict rules on content moderation. According to media reports, 

Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner in charge of implementing the bloc’s digital rules, made the threat during a video meeting with Musk today.

Breton told Musk he must follow the EU’s list of rules including dropping the “arbitrary” way Musk reinstates banned users, going after disinformation “aggressively” and agreeing to an “extensive independent audit” of the platform by next year.

Musk was warned that unless he followed these and other rules, Twitter would be violating the EU’s new Digital Services Act.

This law tries to sets the global standard for how Big Tech must moderate content on the internet. Breton warned Musk that if he violates the new law, Twitter could face a Europe-wide ban or fines of up to 6 per cent of global turnover.

According to people briefed on the video call, Musk said he thought the DSA was “very sensible.”

According to CNBC:

Under the European Union’s recently approved Digital Services Act, large tech companies will be required to have robust content moderation systems to ensure they can quickly take down illegal material such as hate speech, incitement to terrorism and child sexual abuse.

For his part, Musk has said he wouldn’t allow illegal content on the platform.

The EU’s rules are expected to come into force by 2024. Companies can be fined up to 6% of global annual revenues for violations.

Guy Verhofstadt, a member of the European Parliament, said Friday that “the need for rules and accountability is bigger than ever.”

“So one man @elonmusk now owns the biggest debate in the world …” he said in a tweet. “Self-regulation in social media has never worked … even with lesser characters than his.”