Twitter takeover: EU warns Elon Musk he must comply or face sanctions

Twitter takeover: EU warns Elon Musk he must comply or face sanctions

The EU has warned Elon Musk that Twitter must ‘play by our rules’ or face penalties ranging from fines to a total ban, as concerns have been raised about an increase in hate speech on the platform -form it owns.

The world’s richest man has struck a $44billion (£34billion) deal to buy the social media network, which will hand control of a platform with 217million users to a self-confessed “free speech absolutist”.

Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal market commissioner, took to Twitter on Tuesday to remind Tesla’s chief executive that he will have to adhere to the new Digital Services Act, which requires online platforms to crack down on illegal content such as hate speech.

“Whether it’s cars or social media, any company operating in Europe must abide by our rules – regardless of their ownership,” Breton wrote. “Mr. Musk knows this well. He knows the European automotive rules and will quickly adapt to the Digital Services Act.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Breton added: “We welcome everyone. We are open but on our terms. At least we know what to say to him: ‘Elon, there are rules. You are welcome, but these are our rules. Your rules will not apply here.

He went on to warn that companies that breach the new rules, which are due to come into force in 2024, can face fines of up to 6% of global turnover and outright bans on repeat offenders.

The law will require social media platforms to allow users to report illegal content – such as promoting terrorism or commercial scams – in a “simple and efficient way” so that it can be quickly removed.

Whether it’s cars or social media, any company operating in Europe must comply with our rules, regardless of their ownership.

Mr. Musk knows this well.

He knows the European automotive rules and will quickly adapt to the Digital Services Act.#DSA

—Thierry Breton (@ThierryBreton) April 26, 2022

Breton spoke out as human rights groups reacted to Twitter’s board acceptance of Musk’s offer with warnings of dire consequences if the billionaire’s commitment to favor of freedom of expression led to a relaxation of restrictions on harmful content.

Amnesty International has expressed concern about any moves Twitter may make after Musk’s takeover to erode enforcement of policies and mechanisms designed to moderate hate speech online.

“The last thing we need is a Twitter that deliberately turns a blind eye to violent and abusive speech against users, especially those most disproportionately affected, including women, non-binary people and others” , Michael Kleinman, Director of Technology and Human Rights at Amnesty International USA,

Deborah Brown, digital rights researcher and lawyer at Human Rights Watch, said even small changes to the platform could have a devastating impact.

“No matter who owns Twitter, the company has a responsibility to respect the rights of people around the world who depend on the platform. Changes to its policies, features and algorithms, big and small, can have disproportionate and sometimes devastating, including offline violence,” she said.

The UK is also introducing a tougher regulatory regime for digital platforms with the Online Safety Bill, which requires companies such as Twitter and Facebook to protect users from harmful content and carries the threat of a multi-billion pound fine for violations.

Imran Ahmed, chief executive of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a campaign group, said: “The UK and the EU are going to have tools to deal with this. Twitter is going to have a very hard time working in the UK if it tries to operate on the basis of complete free speech and zero rules.

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has backed Elon Musk’s controversial $44billion (£34billion) takeover of the micro-blogging platform, describing the billionaire as ‘the singular solution I’m looking for. have confidence”.

The 45-year-old, who co-founded the company in 2006 and floated it on the New York Stock Exchange in 2013, said it was Wall Street-owned and that Musk’s deal on Monday to take it private was the “correct first step”.

However, Dorsey, who stepped down as Twitter’s chief executive in November and will receive a $978 million payout for his 2.4% stake when the deal closes later this year, said that in Ultimately, “as a matter of principle, I don’t think anyone should own or run Twitter.”

“He wants to be a public good at the protocol level, not a company,” he said, in a series of tweets. “Solving the problem of being a business though, Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to expand the light of consciousness.

Parag Agrawal, who took over from Dorsey as chief executive, told staff their jobs are only secure for the roughly six months it will take to complete the deal.

“Once the deal is done, we don’t know which direction the platform will go,” said Agrawal, who is on hold on a $38.7 million salary package due to a “change of position” clause. control” in his contract.

Donald Trump, who was permanently banned from Twitter after the US Capitol riots last January, said he would not return to the platform even if Musk allowed him to. Musk said he favors temporary “timeouts” for users who violate Twitter policies, rather than outright bans.

Musk closed the $44 billion deal to buy Twitter after weeks of dramatic speculation over the platform’s future, sparked by Musk’s emergence as its largest single shareholder on April 4. He then declared a takeover bid on April 14, offering to buy all shares of Twitter for $54.20 each.

At first, Twitter’s board seemed opposed, enacting an anti-takeover measure known as the “poison pill” that could have made a takeover attempt prohibitively expensive. But his initial reluctance to agree to a deal seemed to fade after Musk confirmed funding for the deal – including $21 billion of his own money, as well as debt funding from Morgan Stanley and other institutions. financials – and shareholders warmed up.

Ross Gerber, a Tesla investor described as close to Musk, tweeted that Musk is “more powerful than countries now”, adding Twitter and its hundreds of millions of users to a portfolio that also includes aerospace company Space X.

Sign up for the daily Business Today email or follow Guardian Business on Twitter at @BusinessDesk

Musk has pledged to clean up Twitter bots on the platform, which have been used to try to manipulate big events such as political elections.

However, Vivian Schiller, the former head of news and journalism partnerships at Twitter, worries that Musk doesn’t realize the challenges of content moderation.

“I think maybe he just doesn’t realize that the type of decisions that are going to have to be made, ultimately down to him, are incredibly complicated,” she told AFP. BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “It’s easy to say ‘I believe in freedom of expression’, but what do you do when you talk about incitement to violence, hate speech or other forms of really disturbing content?

#Twitter #takeover #warns #Elon #Musk #comply #face #sanctions

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.