Amid concerns that hate speech might increase under Musk’s ownership of Twitter, the EU and UK have warned that twitter must adhere to the new content rules or face a range of sanctions, from fines to an outright ban.
A recent deal for $44bn (£34bn) to purchase Twitter will see Musk take control of the platform, which has approximately 217 million users.
Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner for the internal market, reminded Musk on Tuesday that he would have to comply with the newly agreed Digital Services Act, which requires online platforms to tackle illegal content such as hate speech.
Be it cars or social media, any company operating in Europe needs to comply with our rules – regardless of their shareholding.— Thierry Breton (@ThierryBreton) April 26, 2022
Mr Musk knows this well.
He is familiar with European rules on automotive, and will quickly adapt to the Digital Services Act.#DSA
These warnings would appear to be a reaction to Musk declaring himself a “free speech absolustist” and indications that he intends to take a hands-off approach when it comes to content regulation.
Over in the United States, Elon Musk’s deal with Twitter has enthused many on the right wing who have seen themselves or their allies banned in recent years.
Musk’s ownership could see public figures such as Donald trump, who was permanently suspended from Twitter in January 2020 due to the risk of him inciting violence, regain access to the platform and use it as a tool for political ends.
Trump rejoining Twitter, however, would imply an admission of failure for his social app “Truth Social”, which has not performed very well thus far; so the news of Musk’s takeover could be bitter sweet for Donald.
Trump’s dilemma will no doubt be compounded by the fact that shares in Digital World Acquisition Corporation, a firm which plans to merge with Trump Media & Technology Group, dropped 13% on Monday after the news of Musk’s deal with Twitter.