December 5, 2022

Elon Musk’s talk of Twitter freedom triggers EU commissioner

Thierry Breton has warned Twitter’s new owner that his social media platform will have to “fly by our rules” in Europe

Elon Musk’s celebratory tweet upon completing his $44 billion takeover of Tweets has apparently struck the nerve with a top EU official, who warned the billionaire that, at least within Europe, speech won’t be completely free on the social media platform.

The exchange between Musk and Thierry Breton, the EU commissioner for the internal market, began on Thursday night, after the billionaire closed on his questionable acquisition of Twitter. Musk submitted a tweet saying,   “ The parrot is freed, ”   apparently alluding towards the company’s mascot and his programs to make the platform a bastion of free speech. Breton responded a few hours later, saying,   “ In Europe, the bird will fly on an airline by our rules. ”

The EU’s   Digital Services Act , that was approved earlier this year, will require main social media platforms to have solid content moderation systems that can quickly censor such material as  “ detest speech, ”   incitement to terrorism, plus information that the bloc’s bureaucrats deem to be false. When the new law goes into impact in 2024, fines for violations will range up to 6% of the company’s annual revenue, which is equivalent to greater than $300 million in Twitter’s case.

Since unveiling his takeover bid pertaining to Twitter in April, Musk has declared himself a  “ free talk absolutist”   plus spoken repeatedly of the need for a functioning democracy to permit citizens to speak openly. He said on Thursday night that he was buying Tweets because it was  “ important to the future of civilization to get a common digital town sq ., where a wide range of beliefs could be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to assault. ”

Critics, including distraught Tweets employees, have raised fears that Musk will make the particular platform  “ unsafe”   by allowing  “ harmful”   content. In May, over two dozen activist groups, including organizations funded simply by billionaire George Soros, known as on Twitter advertisers in order to boycott Twitter if Musk completed his takeover from the company. The groups called the deal a  “ direct threat to public safety. ”

Musk posted an open message to advertisers on Thursday, assuring them that will Twitter wouldn’t become  “ a free-for-all hellscape where anything can be stated with no consequences. ”   He said the organization would adhere to all suitable laws and would be  “ warm plus welcoming to all. ”   But he also spoke of buying the company because he loves humanity and sees the need for an open marketplace of ideas.

An earlier indicator of how Musk may lean in terms of freedom vs regulating offensive commentary may have come on Friday, when Tweets unlocked the account associated with rapper  Kanye Western . Twitter and other systems booted West earlier this month, after he posted a tweet saying,   “ I’m going loss of life con 3 on Jewish people. ”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed doubts in April that a  “ full palette”   of opinions would be allowe d upon any Western social media platform. “ We have already noticed from Europe that they will not really allow absolute freedom there, ”   this individual said, referring to an earlier warning to Musk by Breton. At the time, the commissioner told the Financial Times,   “ At least we all know what to tell him: ‘ Elon, there are rules. You are allowed, but these are our rules. It’s not your rules which will apply here’. ”

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