EU Threatens Sanctions Of Musk’s Twitter For Temporary Suspension Of Establishment Media Journalists

 December 17, 2022

Following the suspension of several establishment media journalists, over allegedly sharing the private location of Elon Musk’s jet, the European Union has threatened to levy sanctions against Twitter. Reportedly, on Thursday evening, Twitter suspended journalists from the Washington Post, New York Times, Vox, CNN, Mashable, and former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, for allegedly violating the platform’s updated terms of service on doxxing, or the exposing of private details such as location or addresses on the internet.

Musk tweeted Wednesday-

“Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation,” “This includes posting links to sites with real-time location info. Posting locations someone traveled to on a slightly delayed basis isn’t a safety problem, so is ok.”

-Elon Musk, Twitter CEO

The linking to a tracker of Musk’s private jet, reportedly was the reason for the suspensions. Musk said that “my plane is actually not trackable without using non-public data”, though, many have claimed that this was publicly available information. Reportedly, the tracker used, was created by American programmer Jack Sweeney, who has admitted that while Musk had used a Privacy ICAO Address (PIA) to protect the identity of people using private aircraft, he said that his software was able to still identify the plane.

EU commissioner Vera Jourova said, in response to the move to suspend the journalists who shared the information, that Twitter may face sanctions under the bloc’s newly implemented Digital Services Act (DSA) for, it is claimed, failing to protect media freedom. Jourova wrote on Twitter-

“[The] EU’s Digital Services Act requires respect of media freedom and fundamental rights. This is reinforced under our Media Freedom Act,” adding “Elon Musk should be aware of that. There are red lines. And sanctions, soon”… adding that “news about arbitrary suspension of journalists on Twitter is worrying.”

- Vera Jourova, EU commissioner

Seemingly, contradicting the bloc’s typically censorious attitude, these warnings from the EU are curious all by themselves. Providing the addition of punishment mechanisms against internet platforms, that fail to abide by the bloc’s rules, the Digital Services Act (DSA) came into force last month, greatly expanding the ability of Brussels to police so-called ‘hate speech’ and ‘disinformation’.

The EU, reportedly, will be able to impose fines of up to six per cent of their global revenue and even possibly ban platforms altogether, if companies like Twitter fail to comply with the DSA by February of 2024. This is interestingly, the same threat that they have already made against Twitter following Musk’s takeover.

Even more curious is the fact that, while the EU reacted with outrage, over these temporary suspensions of establishment media journalists, this was not the case, following the permanent ban of Donald Trump. In a move that came despite Twitter’s internally acknowledging that his posts did not violate their terms of service, and just days after Twitter took the unprecedented action of banning the sitting president of the United States, EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton said that Twitter and other tech companies that banned Trump-

“have recognized their responsibility, duty and means to prevent the spread of illegal viral content”.

- Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for Internal Market

Leading the push behind passage of the Digital Services Act, Breton, has been at the forefront of issuing demands to Musk, since the takeover, to continue to police hate speech and disinformation on the platform. Breton said that-

“In Europe, the bird will fly by our rules.”

-Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for Internal Market

It would seem that the EU thinks it is calling the shots, and plans to use the newly enacted DSA, against Musk who has updated and improved Twitters rules to reflect a truly fairer platform. Though Musk likely is not happy with their power-posturing, he is also not likely to cave easily when it’s his own safety that is at stake. Perhaps this is part of the EU’s plan.

This man, since taking the reins of Twitter, has exposed levels of government and media collusion, corruption and the downright compromise of America’s freedoms, simply by releasing Twitter specific information on tweets, schedules, meetings and the like. How much is his safety at risk? Quite frankly – a lot.

That these establishment media journalists, using a supposedly state of the art tracker to find his private jet, and identified it is one thing – to tweet its location, in real time, is quite another. Many persons, with far less impact on the corruption surrounding them, have disappeared and or been harmed. Musk has a proverbial target on his back at this point.

I’m sure that Musk’s security team is working overtime these days, but he nor anyone else that has access to his whereabouts is likely broadcasting it. These journalists should have known better. Musk doesn’t need the social media paparazzi, setting him up for harm. Whether, it would happen or not is beside the point – it is a reasonable rule that Musk has established and if these journalists want access to the platform – they had better heed it.

These EU threats don’t likely worry Musk, he has shown himself quite up to the task of moving forward at Twitter, without their input. It is curious they are not considering the possible risks to Musk in this matter – or maybe they are?

“Think before you speak. Read before you think.”

-Fran Lebowitz
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