Elon Musk’s plans to turn Twitter Inc. into a free speech haven could run into its biggest political obstacles in the European Union, where he has to contend with Its new Digital Services Act requires companies to remove illegal content.

Musk said he’ll follow national laws — and specifically reassured concerned EU officials that he’ll follow the DSA — but this will be difficult in practice with so few staff Moderate content is left. It won’t be easier in the EU’s lawmaking capital of Brussels, where Twitter’s office It is now dead.

EU Leaders are aware Musk He was controversial speaker on Twitter — he was taken to court After he called a British Caver a “defamation”, “pedo guy” (Musk won), the US SEC sued him Tweets about Tesla Inc. being taken private (Musk settled), he tweeted A Nazi meme (then it was deleted) posted False information about an attack on US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband (also deleted.)

While most if not all of these wouldn’t have breached the DSA, it’s certainly made lawmakers attentive to the possibility that they were signs of what’s to come.

What are the new rules for Twitter in Europe?

One rule makes it a requirement for platforms like Twitter to remove content that’s illegal in any of the EU bloc’s member states. In Germany, for instance, it would be illegal to promote Nazism. But it wouldn’t have to be taken down across the border in Denmark, where it isn’t. Another rule is that platforms like Twitter must show the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, that it’s doing an appropriate amount of work to decrease the spread of content that breaks no law, but can be seen as harmful. This would include disinformation. Companies will have to show how they’re tackling such posts this summer. If you are interested in the following: EU If they conclude that not enough is being implemented, this second rule allows them to request changes to policies or algorithms. 

What other rules should Twitter be following in Europe? 

Musk Follow the instructions. EU’s landmark data protection rules, the GDPR, which requires Twitter to have a data protection officer in the EU. This also means Twitter must have consent to target ads to certain user groups. Twitter can be held responsible for any data breaches. Musk He will need to be vigilant on There is also legislation like the EU’s AI Act. The current proposal bans the use of algorithms shown to discriminate against people, which could impact Twitter’s face-cropping tools that have been shown to favor thin, young women. The EU’s Child Sexual Abuse Materials proposal could force Twitter to screen private messages for child sexual abuse imagery, or grooming. These topics are still under discussion in the EU.

What will it take? EU Are there any regulators who enforce the rules?

In extreme situations, they might ban Twitter’s operation in the bloc. They could also sanction raids in more moderate cases. on its remaining offices to see if it’s doing what it says it’s doing, and use what they discover to force stronger changes to behavior. In more likely situations, they will issue strong-worded demands and fines as well as the threat of additional action. 

All companies have the option of these options. Brussels’s law, including Meta Platforms Inc., Alphabet Inc., Microsoft Corp. and others. However, Musk’s stance on His dismissal of about and free speech half of Twitter’s employees have already put him in regulators’ spotlight. Twitter will have to do much more work to be compliant with The DSA also includes the ability for users to easily flag illicit content and sufficient moderators to review each piece of content EU country. The EU Fear not to take on In the past, large US tech companies were fined. Ireland’s data protection watchdog fined Twitter €450,000 ($448,360) in 2020 for violating the GDPR. Amazon.com Inc., Meta’s WhatsApp, and Alphabet’s Google have been slapped with fines in the millions of euros, although critics argue these symbolic fines do little to change big tech’s behavior as companies see them as cost of doing business in Europe.

What time could we take action?

DSA expects to see a change in the near future. Twitter will have to publish the number of users it has in February, which kick-starts the process of commission supervision, but it won’t have to submit a risk assessment until next summer. Instead, Musk’s first chance to show the EU He takes content seriously by upholding the EU’s Code of Practice on Disinformation. Twitter signed this code in August promising not to profit off disinformation, and to fight bot-driven amplification. While the code is voluntary, it’s obviously not a great look if Musk Does not keep the promise, or does not honor it immediately. 

Ireland’s supervisor has said it’s “closely” Monitoring Musk’s moves. After the departure of Twitter’s sole chief privacy officer, the company reassured Ireland’s data watchdog that it was complying with The GDPR would require that someone be in charge of data during this time. The biggest risk is having insufficient staff to protect the platform from hackers who could expose user data.

Is there the EU Only place Musk Should you be concerned?

Two cases could see the US Supreme Court hold social media companies responsible for algorithms that encourage illegal or harmful content. This could have a profound impact on how American companies manage content. Twitter sued India for a new law giving the government control over social media posts. It’s unclear if this goes against Musk’s ideas of free speech enough that he’ll continue the suit or if he’ll just adhere to the law.

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