February 8, 2023

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The EU warns that Elon Musk’s Twitter has “great work ahead” to comply with the tough new rules

A senior European Union official said that Twitter “huge work ahead‘ to prepare for the bloc’s tough new rules for online platforms. Thierry Breton, the commissioner responsible for implementing the forthcoming Digital Services Act (DSA), released a short video clip of a meeting with CEO Elon Musk and said he welcomed Musk’s “intent to prepare Twitter 2.0 for the DSA.”

According to the Financial Times, Breton said Twitter needed to make a number of changes to comply with the DSA’s requirements. It must be “aggressive” against disinformation, undergo an audit, provide clear criteria for which users may be banned, and carefully consider how it will unblock it in the future. Breton has posted a full “DSA checklist” through his Mastodon account, detailing the rules he thinks Twitter needs to abide by.

Failure to comply with the DSA could result in an EU-wide ban or fines of up to 6 percent of global sales when it comes into effect, which Politico says may not happen until early 2024. Musk, for his part, is said to have called the DSA “very reasonable” in his meeting with the commissioner. It’s at least the second time Musk has spoken to Breton, after the EU official released video of the pair saying they agreed on the DSA in May.

However, some legal experts have questioned whether Twitter must adhere to the strictest rules of the DSA. Twitter has yet to be officially designated a “Very Large Online Platform” or VLOP, imposing greater obligations on platforms with at least 45 million users in the EU. A spokesman for the European Commission recently declined to confirm to TechCrunch whether Twitter is referred to as a VLOP.

The meeting between Breton and Musk comes as Twitter has laid out publicly his approach to moderation under his new owner. In a blog post titled “Twitter 2.0: Our Continued Commitment to Public Debate,” the social media network said that while “none of our policies have changed,” it would be more willing to experiment going forward. “We believe this open and transparent approach to innovation is healthy as it allows us to move faster and collect real-time user feedback,” the post reads.

But acc Twitter’s own support pages, it made at least one change to its moderation policy under Musk: ending enforcement of its Covid misinformation policy. That has drawn the wrath of at least one EU official, European Commission Vice-President for Values ​​and Transparency Věra Jourová, who told Politico that “in [her] From their perspective, Twitter is now jumping to the front of the regulators’ line.” It suggests that Twitter is now in the regulator’s crosshairs as they prepare to enforce the DSA.

With Twitter’s workforce undergoing significant downsizing following Musk’s purchase, the Financial Times reports that EU officials are raising questions about its ability to comply with the strict regulations going forward.