How EU Could Frustrate Musk’s Plans for Twitter

How EU Could Frustrate Musk’s Plans for Twitter

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Elon Musk’s scaling again of content material moderation and different safeguards at Twitter has put him on a collision course with the European Union. The billionaire has promised to carry “free speech” again to the social media platform. He additionally promised to abide by nationwide legal guidelines, and sought to reassure involved EU officers that he would comply with strict requirements round hate speech and disinformation specified by the bloc’s new Digital Services Act. The departure of about half of Twitter’s workforce since Musk purchased the corporate in October makes that more durable to realize.

1. What might get Twitter into hassle?

The DSA is a response to considerations that social media has executed too little to stop the unfold of offensive or deceptive content material from destabilizing politics and society and harming the susceptible. It offers regulators extra energy to pressure Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and different platforms to take away content material they deem unlawful. The firms may also have to point out that they deal with content material that isn’t strictly unlawful however could be dangerous, equivalent to disinformation. If they fall brief, the EU’s government Commission can pressure them to alter their algorithms and insurance policies. France’s media regulator stated it was involved about Twitter’s capacity to keep up a secure atmosphere for its customers after the employees cuts.

2. How can the EU make Twitter comply?

Its regulators might problem strong-worded calls for and fines equal to as a lot as 6% of Twitter’s annual income. They can authorize raids on its places of work to see if it lives as much as its guarantees, and use what they uncover to pressure extra sweeping modifications to its practices. Ultimately, they’ve the ability to ban Twitter from working within the block.

3. What different guidelines does Twitter should comply with in Europe?

The area has a number of the world’s strictest knowledge safety guidelines, making the social media firms liable for any breaches of person knowledge and forcing them to hunt consent earlier than concentrating on adverts to particular person teams. The danger for Twitter is that having fewer employees to guard safety places the platform in danger from hacks that expose person knowledge. Twitter’s chief knowledge safety officer left after Musk took over, changed by an appearing officer. Executives within the UK and Ireland have additionally left, whereas Twitter’s head of France introduced his departure in a tweet on November 20. The firm stated it nonetheless complies with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

4. What ought to Twitter do?

The DSA went into impact on November 16, and Twitter has loads to do within the coming months to adjust to the brand new guidelines. The platform has lengthy battled a notion that it has didn’t handle hate speech and disinformation. It ought to add a mechanism for customers to simply flag unlawful content material. It should additionally present that it has sufficient moderators to overview content material in each EU nation. The EU’s formal oversight course of begins in 2023, when Twitter should publish its person numbers. It may also should submit a danger evaluation exhibiting how it’s decreasing the amount of authorized however dangerous content material. Hours after Musk closed his $44 billion deal for the corporate, European Commissioner Thierry Breton despatched a warning to the brand new proprietor, urging the corporate to “fly by our rules.” Twitter’s capacity to foyer for its pursuits took successful in November after the corporate misplaced the final of its remaining workers within the bloc’s regulatory hub of Brussels.

5. Is it solely the EU that may thwart Musk’s plans?

No. The US Supreme Court will hear two instances that would make social media firms liable for algorithms that promote unlawful or dangerous content material. This might dramatically change how firms within the US average content material. In India, Twitter sued the federal government over a brand new regulation that primarily offers authorities the ability to censor social media posts. It is unclear whether or not Musk will proceed with the case or fall in keeping with the brand new laws.

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