The EU threatens Musk: either Twitter complies with moderation laws or it will be banned in Europe

A European regulator has threatened Elon Musk with applying a ban in the territory of the EU to the social network if the company does not enforce its content moderation rules as established in the Digital Services Law. In fact, on Twitter they have stopped applying the rules against disinformation about COVID, although from the social network They indicate that they have not made any changes and that it has not changed any of its policies.

A very literal interpretation of what the social network says that it has not changed any of its policies can be considered correct. In reality, what it has done has been to stop imposing the rules against disinformation about COVID-19 instead of modifying them. But this is a very big change in how you moderate content.

Nor does it help to improve confidence in content moderation, the restoration of Trump’s account and other users whose account was banned for his controversial comments signal a different approach to compliance under Musk. In fact, in the same post in which they point out that his policies have not changed, they point out that his approach «compliance with the regulations will depend above all on the de-amplification of the content that violates them: freedom of expression, but not freedom of scope«.

According to Reuters, the EU Commissioner Thierry Breton has warned Musk that he must comply with the rules of the European Commission in a video meeting. Breton has told him that «There is still a lot of work ahead, as Twitter will need to implement transparent user policies, significantly strengthen content moderation and protect free speech, tackle misinformation vigorously, and limit targeted advertising.«.

At the very least, Musk and Breton agree that the European Union will carry out a stress test at the Twitter headquarters in early 2023 to assess the level of compliance with EU rules. And according to the Financial Times, Breton has conveyed to Musk that Twitter needs to abandon its arbitrary approach of de-accounting banned users, go after disinformation and agree to allow a broad independent audit of the platform next year.

According to multiple sources, Musk has been put on notice that unless he adheres to those rules, Twitter risks breaching the EU’s new Digital Services Law, which says Big Tech has to moderate content on the internet. Breton has reiterated that Twitter could face a total ban in Europe or fines of up to 6% of its global revenue if it does not comply with the law.

Musk has replied to Breton that the Digital Services Act is very reasonable. Of course, one of the things that the EU asks of Musk is that he offer a clear criterion of which users are in danger of being banned. It is not worth proceeding as he did with Trump: returning his account after doing a survey on the social network.

The explanation by writer that Twitter has given so far also wants to clear up the concern of not having adequate content moderation, noting that its team of “trust and safety continues its work to keep the platform safe from hateful behavior, abusive behavior and any violation of Twitter rules. The team remains strong and resourced, and automated detection plays an increasingly important role in eliminating abuse«.

But the firings and resignations have decimated the Twitter team responsible for policing and removing child sexual abuse material. According to the former head of trust and security at Twitter, Yoel Roth, his resignation occurred because Musk is in dictatorial decree“, and that the mass layoffs had damaged Twitter’s ability to block harmful content.

Roth noted that automated systems can’t completely replace human review, that he doesn’t think Twitter has enough people in the company who can do that work to keep up. He also assured that the change of course in the policy on COVID is “really bad and harmful«.

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