US Reporter

EU Keeps a Close Watch on New Twitter CEO

The European Commissions’s (EU) executive vice president warns the newest Twitter owner, Elon Musk after acquisition: ‘We are watching you.’

When Musk took over as CEO a week ago, he promised users to crack down on bots. He also mentioned loosening up a few rules concerning posts, privacy, and account ownership. This raised the confidence of many users against the current Twitter rules and regulations. However, European authorities grow wary that Musk’s involvement with Twitter could go south.

“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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The Digital Services Act of the EU

The EU could invoke a new law called the Digital Services Act against posts made on social media. Under the law, tech firms should remove any content if it goes against any information or media laws in the country where the content appears. If found guilty of violating the law, companies may be fined up to 6% of their annual revenue. For instance, Twitter earned $5 billion in 2021, which means violating the act could inflict around a $300 million fine for the company.

“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, the industry chief of the EU, Thierry Breton, quickly informed Musk that he kept a close watch on Twitter’s activities soon after Musk bought Twitter. Authorities see this as an appropriate move, considering that Musk’s plans for the social media company remain to be seen. However, the mogul clarified his disagreement with Twitter’s existing rules about content and bots.

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Twitter under Musk

After buying Twitter, Musk said:

“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

Source: NPR

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