Europe Could Ban Twitter Entirely

Twitter could be banned from the European Union for not complying with regulations.

By Chad Langen | Updated

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Billionaire entrepreneur, Elon Musk, is encountering mounting pressure from Europe over his ownership of Twitter, specifically related to compliance with disinformation regulations. Deadline reports that France’s Digital Minister, Jean-Noël Barrot, issued a strong caution, warning Musk that unless the social media platform adheres to content moderation guidelines, it could face a potential ban from the European Union. Barrot stated during an interview on France Info, “Twitter, if it repeatedly doesn’t follow our rules, will be banned from the EU.”

Barrot’s statements, in which he also emphasized the threat disinformation poses to democracies, come shortly after Twitter withdrew from a voluntary rulebook that outlined guidelines for prominent tech players like Meta, Alphabet, and Microsoft. Although adherence to these guidelines was not mandatory, its purpose was to streamline the obligations that tech companies would be required to comply with under the upcoming Digital Services Act, which takes effect in August within the European Union. Barrot’s remarks also signify a heightening of the ongoing conflict between European politicians and Twitter, which Elon Musk acquired last year.

The European Union has previously warned Musk about his efforts to reshape Twitter into a haven of unrestricted free speech. Notably, the European Commission issued a warning to Musk last year, indicating that a ban could be imposed on the social network if it failed to comply with rigorous content moderation regulations. This cautionary message was conveyed during a video call between Musk and Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner responsible for implementing digital regulations across the bloc.

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Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter

During their conversation, Breton explained to Musk the importance of Twitter following a set of rules which included abandoning a subjective approach to reinstating banned users, actively seeking out digital disinformation, and undergoing an extensive independent platform audit by 2023. Breton cautioned Musk that failure to comply with these regulations could result in Twitter violating the European Union’s recently enacted Digital Services Act, potentially leading to a European-wide ban or fines amounting to 6 percent of the company’s global turnover. Based on the recent remarks made by Jean-Noël Barrot, it appears that Musk disregarded Breton’s warning.

Senior EU officials have previously expressed concerns over whether Twitter even has enough staff to comply with the digital rules after Musk fired more than half of its 7,500 workforce back in November. Recent reports have intensified these concerns, revealing that Musk has laid off 80 percent of the company’s workforce since acquiring the social network. During an interview last month, the controversial businessman told BBC that Twitter’s current workforce had been reduced to approximately 1,500 employees, a significant decline from the previous count of just under 8,000 individuals employed at the time of his acquisition.

Despite the potential ban of Twitter from Europe, Musk has not publicly addressed the issue. However, his unwavering dedication to championing freedom of expression and advancing transparency, as consistently emphasized across a multitude of statements and interviews, serves as a resolute testament to the enduring significance of these principles within the framework of his vision and objectives for the social media platform. In other words, he appears unlikely to deviate from this stance.