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EU industry chief Breton urges more compliance efforts from Twitter's Musk

Published 01/31/2023, 12:51 PM
Updated 01/31/2023, 04:21 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his security detail depart the company’s local office in Washington, U.S. January 27, 2023.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -The new few months will be crucial for Twitter to make good on commitments to fully heed European Union online content rules, EU industry chief Thierry Breton told its owner Elon Musk, ramping up pressure on the company amid concerns it may fall short on compliance efforts.

The two held a video call two months ago during which Breton warned Musk of "huge work ahead" for Twitter to apply transparent use policies, significantly reinforce content moderation and protect freedom of speech.

Such obligations are set out in the EU's Digital Services Act (DSA), which took effect in November last year targeting online platforms which could face fines up to 6% of their global turnover if they do not fully comply by Sept. 1, 2023.

There are concerns about whether Twitter can live up to its obligations under the DSA after Musk cut thousands of jobs since he took over the social media giant.

"I take note of the path that Twitter is committed to take in Europe to comply with DSA rules. The next few months will be crucial to transform commitments into reality," Breton said after another video call with Musk on Tuesday.

"We need to see progress towards full compliance with the DSA. My team will follow closely the work by Twitter and by all other online platforms," he said in a readout of the call.

Musk tweeted about a good meeting with Breton, saying that the DSA's goals of transparency, accountability and accurate information are aligned with Twitter's.

Breton told Musk that he is vigilant regarding the resources and tools that Twitter is allocating to address trust and safety issues across the EU in all European languages, the readout said. Twitter will do a stress test in the coming weeks.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his security detail depart the company’s local office in Washington, U.S. January 27, 2023.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The EU commissioner also stressed the importance of Twitter delivering on its commitments to the EU Code of Practice on Disinformation. Companies that signed up to the code are due to issue reports on their efforts next week.

A Twitter program that was crucial for outside researchers studying state-backed disinformation campaigns has stalled since Musk's takeover. The program was a key plank of Twitter's plan to comply with the Digital Services Act, a former company executive previously told Reuters.

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