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The EU warns Elon Musk that Twitter could be banned if it doesn't comply with content moderation laws: FT

Business Insider logo Business Insider 12/1/2022 htan@insider.com (Huileng Tan)
Elon Musk completed his acquisition of Twitter in October. Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Getty Images © Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Anadolu Elon Musk completed his acquisition of Twitter in October. Muhammed Selim Korkutata/Getty Images
  • A high-ranking EU official told Twitter CEO Musk the platform must comply with content moderation laws, per the FT.
  • Twitter faces an EU-wide ban or fine if it breaches the EU's law, commissioner Thierry Breton warned.
  • Musk told Breton repeatedly that he thought the EU's Digital Services Act was "very sensible."

The European Union has warned Elon Musk Twitter could be banned from operating in the bloc unless the social media platform adheres to its content moderation regulations, the Financial Times reported Wednesday.

Thierry Breton, the European Union's commissioner for the internal market, was on a video call with the Twitter CEO when he gave the warning, the FT reported, citing people with knowledge of the discussion.

Breton tweeted about his call with Musk on Wednesday, saying there's still "huge work ahead."

 

Breton told Musk Twitter must comply with a list of rules, including doing away with an "arbitrary" approach to reinstating banned accounts, the FT reported. Twitter must also agree to  an "extensive independent audit" by 2023.'

The European Commission said in a readout of Breton's call with Musk that two have agreed to the EC carrying out a "stress test" at Twitter's headquarters in early 2023 so that the social media platform can target to comply with EU regulations ahead of legal deadline and prepare for the audit.

The regulations refer to the EU Digital Services Act which came into force on November 16. The Act covers "cover detection, flagging and removal of illegal content."

However, Twitter has closed its entire office in Brussels after Musk took over the company, sparking concerns about its compliance with the EU's online safety rules. Since Musk's finalized his acquisition, Twitter has been hit with swathes of layoffs globally, with cuts across every department including content moderation.

Breton told Musk Twitter faces an EU-wide ban if it doesn't comply with the law, the FT reported. Per the law, Twitter could also be fined up to 6% of its global turnover for any breaches.

Musk reportedly told Breton he thought the EU's Digital Services Act was "very sensible" and should be applied globally.

Twitter said in a Wednesday blog post that none of its policies have changed since Musk bought the company for $44 billion. The social network's trust and safety teams "remains strong and well-resourced, and automated detection plays an increasingly important role in eliminating abuse." 

"Our approach to policy enforcement will rely more heavily on de-amplification of violative content: freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach," Twitter said.

Twitter did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment sent outside regular business hours.

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