Elon Musk, Thierry Breton

SCIENCE & TECH: Elon Musk, EU say they agree on Twitter regulations

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Elon Musk said he and the European Union are “very much on the same page” when it comes to regulation of social media as the Tesla boss appears set to complete his $44 billion takeover of Twitter.

Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal market commissioner, posted a video on his Twitter account showing him shaking hands with Musk at the Tesla gigafactory in Austin, Texas on Monday.

In the video, the EU official tells Musk that he explained the Digital Services Act to Musk.

“It fits pretty well with what you think we should do,” Breton tells Musk in a tweet that included the hashtag #DSA.

“I think it’s exactly aligned with my thinking,” Musk responds.

The two did not go into detail on the new law, which levies hefty fines on companies if they do not control illegal content.

The rules ban advertising aimed at children or based on religion, gender, race and political opinions, for example.

Musk, who is on the verge of acquiring Twitter for $44 billion, and Breton signaled agreement on regulation of social media platforms.
Twitter/@ThierryBreton

Musk secured the deal to buy Twitter last month with a pledge to revitalize the company and expand the number of users by cracking down on spam bots and reducing the amount of moderation to facilitate more “free speech.”

The billionaire’s comments prompted a rejoinder from Breton that Twitter must comply with new EU rules known as the Digital Services Act tackling illegal online content.

“Elon, there are rules,” Breton told the Financial Times last month.

“You are welcome but these are our rules. It’s not your rules which will apply here.”

Breton’s comments came days after the EU passed a sweeping bill called the Digital Services Act, which will require sites to more strictly monitor material about pandemics, wars, natural disasters and other emergencies that governments deem to be “disinformation.”

It will also require them to take a harder line against what governments deem to be hate speech and harassment. 

If Twitter or any other social media site fails to comply with the rules, the EU has the power to fine them up to 6% of their revenue — or even ban them from operating in Europe altogether. 

Elon Musk
Twitter’s board of directors last month accepted Musk’s $44 billion buyout offer.
WireImage
Thierry Breton
Breton has warned Musk that Twitter will have to abide by European laws governing content moderation.
Getty Images

“If [Twitter] does not comply with our law, there are sanctions,” Breton said.

“Anyone who wants to benefit from this market will have to fulfill our rules. The board [of Twitter] will have to make sure that if it operates in Europe it will have to fulfill the obligations, including moderation, open algorithms, freedom of speech, transparency in rules, obligations to comply with our own rules for hate speech, revenge porn [and] harassment.”



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