the government threatens Elon Musk

Minister Jean-Noël Barrot recalls that from August, the platforms will have new obligations in Europe and threatens Twitter half-word if Elon Musk refuses to join the ranks.

Emmanuel Macron and Elon Musk, this May 15, at the Élysée Palace // Source: Presidency of the Republic – Twitter

Could Twitter be banned in Europe? In any case, this is what certain European leaders suggest, including Jean-Noël Barrot, the Minister in charge of the Digital Transition and Telecommunications. Asked about FranceInfo this Monday, May 29, Emmanuel Macron’s minister was intransigent regarding Elon Musk’s social network.

The obligations remain

A little background to see more clearly. In order to regulate online content, Europe intends to impose certain moderation rules on platforms. “128 measures have been adopted on a voluntary basis by 34 digital giants including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter.“. However, Elon Musk has decided to withdraw Twitter from this agreement. Recall that as part of cost optimization, Elon Musk laid off many employees when he took over at the head of the social network, including the content moderation team.

But beyond the measures adopted voluntarily, Europe will bring into force on August 25 the Digital Services Act (DSA), a law aimed at “require major social media platforms to actively fight misinformation“.

Thierry Breton, European Commissioner, therefore specified, via Twitter, “obligations remain, you can run, but you can’t hide“.

Twitter leaves EU voluntary Code of Practice against disinformation.

But obligations remain. You can run but you can’t hide.

Beyond voluntary commitments, fighting disinformation will be legal obligation under #DSA as of August 25.

Our teams will be ready for enforcement.

— Thierry Breton (@ThierryBreton) May 26, 2023

On FranceInfo, Jean-Noël Barrot outbids: “I hope that Twitter can comply by August 25 with the new European rules that we have adopted, otherwise it will no longer be welcome in Europe and force will remain with the law“. The platforms will therefore have to demonstrate an active fight against disinformation; Elon Musk, for his part, hides behind his community since it is possible, under certain conditions, to add context to tweets.

If this is not enough, a fine could be claimed from Twitter – around 300 million euros –, then, in the event of a repeat offense, Twitter could be “banned from the European Union“.

As the minister reminds us, Twitter plays an important role in public debate. In the slightly crazy scenario where Twitter is excluded from the territory, this would then leave a bulwark for its competitors, starting with BlueSky (launched by Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter) and the presumed alternative of Meta (Facebook and Instagram ). This promises a multitude of twists and turns for the next few months!

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