Thierry Breton, European Commissioner, has officially confirmed that Twitter has left the list of signatories to the European code of best practices against disinformation. He indicates that even if Twitter no longer participates proactively in this charter, the social network will have to comply with the law on content moderation which will come into force in Europe in August 2023, under penalty of a fine which may be raise up to 10% of a company’s turnover.
Disinformation (or fake news in the jargon) is a practice that has become common on social networks. It is now very difficult to disentangle the true from the false. And the advent of artificial intelligence will obviously not help the situation. To craft the laws that will help fight disinformation, in 2018 Europe set up a working group whose aim was to create the “ Code of Practice Against Disinformation “.
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In this group, you will find big names in social networks, advertising and the Internet: Meta, Google, Microsoft, TikTok, Twitch, Vimeo or Twitter. The interest in creating a working group was twofold. First, write the guiding ideas of what will become the DSA (Digital Services Act) August 25, 2023. Then, involve those who will have to apply it, in particular the large American firms. However, participation in this group is voluntary. Each signatory can therefore leave the group whenever he wishes.
Twitter no longer wants to fight with Europe against misinformation
And that’s exactly what Twitter has chosen to do. In a message posted on his official account (which you can find at the end of this article), Thierry Breton, European Commissioner, confirms that Elon Musk’s social network has left the task force. A decision that comes exactly three months before the application of the DSA to which the American firm will have to respond to avoid astronomical fines: up to 10% of its annual turnover for a first conviction, up to 20% in case of recurrence. Or even a blocking of the service in Europe.
Twitter’s withdrawal from the working group on the European Code of Practice against Disinformation sends a message that is anything but positive. Is this a message of defiance vis-à-vis the law which will come into force this summer and which obliges social networks to actively fight against misinformation? Or is it another snub from Elon Musk to the European authorities, confirming that the American platform will continue to do what it wants? One thing is certain: it does not smell good. Twitter, pointed out about fake news like all other social networks, has participated for five years in a project that aims to fight against this phenomenon. And now the management decides to leave a few months before a repressive application.
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