The executive vice president of the European Commission (EU) notifies Elon Musk, the latest Twitter CEO: ‘We are watching you.’
Musk pledged users to eradicate bots when he became CEO a week ago. Musk also mentioned relaxing a few restrictions on posts, privacy, and account ownership. In opposition to the current Twitter policies, this increased the confidence of many users. Authorities in Europe, however, are growing anxious that Musk’s involvement with Twitter might not be a good thing.
“There is a European rulebook, and you should live by it. Otherwise, we have the penalties. We have the fines. We have all the assessments and all the decisions that will come to haunt you,” said Margrethe Vestager, the executive vice president of the EU.
“They will have to make a systemic assessment of their services, whether they can be hijacked for undermining democracy or other harmful practices, or is the service itself harmful to people no matter their terms of service?” added Vestager.
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EU counters inappropriate content
The Digital Services Act, a new law, could be used by the EU to penalize social media posts. A violation of any information or media laws in the nation where the content is displayed requires tech companies to remove the content according to the law. In addition, businesses may be fined up to 6% of their annual revenue if found guilty of breaking the law. For instance, Twitter generated $5 billion in revenue in 2021, so breaking the law could result in a fine of around $300 million for the corporation.
“Of course we are. We have the responsibility to enforce this legislation. This is what we have promised. Voters, consumers and users have had promises made,” answered the EU vice president when asked if the EU probed Twitter.
Similarly, shortly after Musk purchased Twitter, Thierry Breton, the EU’s industry commissioner, promptly let Musk learn that he closely monitored Twitter’s operations. Although Musk’s plans for the social media company are still unclear, authorities view this as a wise course of action. The business tycoon did, however, expressly state that he opposed Twitter’s current guidelines regarding bots and content.
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Musk making changes to Twitter
Musk noted after acquiring Twitter:
“I wanted to reach out personally to share my motivation in acquiring Twitter. There has been much speculation about why I bought Twitter and what I think about advertising. Unfortunately, most of it has been wrong.”
“The reason I acquired Twitter is that it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner without resorting to violence. There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right-wing and far left-wing echo chambers that generate more hat and divide our society.”
“In the relentless pursuit of clicks, much of traditional media has fueled and catered to those polarized extremes, as they believe that is what brings in the money, but, in doing so, the opportunity for dialogue is lost.”
“That is why I bought Twitter. I didn’t do it because it would be easy. And I didn’t do it to make more money. I did it to try to help humanity, whom I love. And I do so with humility, recognizing that failure in pursuing this goal, despite our best efforts, is a very real responsibility.”
Photo Credit: Omar Marques
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