The European Union’s internal market chief has said Elon Musk can customize Twitter to his liking after acquiring the social media site, but warned the billionaire that the bloc has strict rules for online platforms to crack down on illegal content.
It’s up to Twitter to conform to our rules,” Thierry Breton told Reuters and another media outlet about the $44 billion deal sealed by Tesla’s CEO on Monday.
“I think Elon Musk knows Europe very well. He knows very well that we have some rules for the automotive industry … and he understands that. So in Europe, to protect freedom of expression and to protect individuals, all companies will have to live up to that obligation.”
Mr Musk, the world’s richest person, calls himself a free speech absolutist and has criticized Twitter’s moderation of a hugely influential platform populated by millions of users and global leaders.
The EU has rules whereby content banned offline is also banned online, Mr Breton said.
According to a Digital Services Act (DSA) agreed by the 27 EU member states and lawmakers last week, Alphabet unit Google, Meta and other major online platforms risk hefty fines if they fail to control illegal content.
Mr Breton said big platforms with more than 45 million users need to have more moderators than smaller ones, including moderators in all European languages, and they need to open up their algorithms to regulators.
Under the DSA, large tech companies face fines of up to 6% of their global sales if they break the rules, while repeated breaches can see them banned from doing business in the EU.
The new rules prohibit advertising aimed at children or based on religion, gender, race and political opinions.
Critics of Mr Musk’s takeover of Twitter fear it will mean less moderation and the reinstatement of suspended people, including former US President Donald Trump.
Mr Breton said he had no intention of interfering on the Trump issue as such matters were now settled in Europe and company boards had no say.
“Remember that the information space is not owned by a private company,” he said. “The information space is part of our responsibility as politicians. Like territorial space…airspace, our digital space is also our responsibility to organize it.”
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/our-rules-will-apply-eu-boss-tells-musk-as-he-buys-twitter-41590934.html “Our rules will apply,” the EU chief told Musk when he bought Twitter