EU Threatens To Ban Twitter Over Elon Musk’s Free Speech Plans

 December 1, 2022

If Elon Musk continues with his free speech reforms, Twitter could be banned from the EU, power-postured a senior official within the EU bloc. The European Union’s Internal Market Commissioner, Thierry Breton, has reportedly ordered Elon Musk to abandon some of his free speech plans for Twitter or risk seeing the platform banned from operating within the EU. Unbanning the likes of former President Donald Trump and reversing Twitter’s hardline policing of COVID-related content, have sparked this EU threat, as Musk continues pushing the platform, in a direction more accepting of freedom of speech.

Promising leaders that he will limit the reach of content governments deem offensive, Musk has repeatedly said that he has no intention of allowing the platform to be completely free. This however, appears to be partly an attempt at appeasing global elites.

On Wednesday, however, according to a report by the Financial Times, it appears that such a promise is not enough for Breton. The commissioner was said to have threatened Musk, during a meeting, that the EU could see the platform banned from all of its member states, if Musk does not bow to every single one of the bloc’s demands.

Breton later wrote on Twitter, that he welcomed the CEO’s “intent to get Twitter 2.0 ready” to implement EU regulations,  then he redirected users towards platform rival Mastodon, to see the exact demands he was making of the social media giant. This included working with so-called “fact-checkers”, censoring content, and the denouncement of the spread of “disinformation”.

According to Forbes, directing his own followers towards a platform that has “numerous vulnerabilities and other security issues”, called into question Breton’s lack of stated concern for ensuring the online security of citizens using social media. Apparently, he is unconcerned with security, regarding Twitter, because Breton made no mention of this aspect in his demand statements. Perhaps on-line security is not a focal point for the EU.

With POLITICO reporting that, the mechanisms to actually see the platform axed from the bloc, will likely not be in place until 2024, it seems that Breton’s threat that Twitter could be banned from the EU, if it does not comply, may be more bark than bite.

Additionally, while agreements are currently in place between various tech giants and the European Union on the regulation of disinformation and hate, as of now, these agreements are entirely voluntary in nature, with Twitter being under no obligation to follow any guidelines set out.

With Musk having said, at this point repeatedly that he would consent to the Frenchman’s demands, in regard to censorship on the platform, Musk actually may be seen to capitulate to Breton’s requirements. Additionally, it is reported that Musk confirmed that he was likely willing to follow EU law, when it comes to censorship. Reportedly Musk also said that he thought the rules were “very sensible”, and that the bloc’s forthcoming law on social media regulation ought to be enforced worldwide.

Many persons may speculate, on just what Musk may do, however, that he is moving in the direction of free speech as the new CEO of Twitter, is still a positive for those who use the media giant. That the platform is more tolerant, especially politically, is a huge change for Twitter. Musk will have to, take-into-account, the bigger than life demands that Breton is making, and his own desire to give communication a platform from which to exist, rather than be controlled. Time will tell. For all the naysaying, Musk is already moving the social platform in a healthier direction.

“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”

-John Milton
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