The European Union has threatened Elon Musk’s Twitter with a ban unless the billionaire abides by its strict rules on content moderation, setting up a regulatory battle over the future of the social media platform, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.
Breton told Musk he must adhere to a checklist of rules, including ditching an “arbitrary” approach to reinstating banned users and agreeing to an “extensive independent audit” of the platform by next year, according to the report.
Twitter and the EU did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.
Breton had previously urged Musk to comply with landmark EU rules against online hate speech and disinformation. The European Commission’s justice chief Didier Reynders had also voiced similar comments.
Reuters reported in October that Elon Musk had assured the European Commission that Twitter will continue to abide by tough European rules on illegal online content policing now the social network has passed under his ownership.
The assurances from Musk appeared to suggest a pragmatic attitude from the CEO of electric car maker Tesla, who has previously expressed his desire to see Twitter have fewer limits on content that can be posted.
In May this year, EU industry chief Thierry Breton met Musk in Texas and the two signalled agreement on EU digital media regulation ahead of Musk’s purchase of Twitter.
The previous meeting came weeks after the world’s richest man clinched a deal to buy the social media company for $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3,40,270 crore) in cash.
In a video with the two men posted on Twitter by Breton, the EU official tells Musk that he explained the Digital Services Act to Musk. “It fits pretty well with what you think we should do,” Breton tells Musk in a tweet that included the hashtag #DSA.
“I think it’s exactly aligned with my thinking,” Musk responds.
The two did not go into detail on the new law, which levies hefty fines on companies if they do not control illegal content. The rules ban advertising aimed at children or based on religion, gender, race, and political opinions, for example.
© Thomson Reuters 2022
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