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EU warns Elon Musk’s Twitter has ‘huge work ahead’ to comply with its strict new rules

EU warns Elon Musk’s Twitter has ‘huge work ahead’ to comply with its strict new rules


The EU’s Digital Services Act is yet to come into force, but the bloc wants Musk to know it’s paying close attention.

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Elon Musk, with a background of Twitter badges
Illustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge; Photo: Getty Images

A top European Union official has said that Twitter has “huge work ahead” to get ready for the bloc’s strict new rules for online platforms. Thierry Breton, the commissioner responsible for implementing the upcoming Digital Services Act (DSA), posted a short video clip of a meeting with CEO Elon Musk, saying that he welcomed Musk’s “intent to get Twitter 2.0 ready for the DSA.”

According to the Financial Times, Breton said Twitter needed to make a number of changes to meet the DSA’s requirements. It will need to “aggressively” tackle disinformation, submit to an audit, provide clear criteria about which users are at risk of being banned, and carefully consider how it lifts bans in the future. Breton posted a full “DSA Checklist,” via his Mastodon account, containing the rules he said Twitter will need to abide by.

Failing to comply with the DSA can result in an EU-wide ban or fines of up to 6 percent of global turnover when it comes into force, which Politico reports may not happen until early 2024. For his part, Musk is said to have called the DSA “very sensible” in his meeting with the commissioner. It’s at least the second time Musk has spoken with Breton after the EU official posted a video of the pair in May saying they were in agreement about the DSA.

However, some legal experts have questioned whether Twitter will have to abide by the strictest rules set out by the DSA. Twitter is yet to be officially designated as a “very large online platform,” or VLOP, which carries greater obligations for platforms with at least 45 million users in the EU. A European Commission spokesperson recently declined to confirm to TechCrunch whether Twitter will be designated as a VLOP.

The meeting between Breton and Musk comes as Twitter has publicly laid out its approach to moderation under its new ownership. In a blog post titled “Twitter 2.0: Our continued commitment to the public conversation,” the social media network said that while “none of our policies have changed,” it would be more willing to experiment in the future. “We believe that this open and transparent approach to innovation is healthy, as it enables us to move faster and gather user feedback in real-time,” the post reads.

But according to Twitter’s own support pages, it’s made at least one change to its moderation policies under Musk: ending the enforcement of its covid misinformation policy. That’s raised the ire of at least one EU official, European Commission vice president for values and transparency Věra Jourová, who told Politico that “in [her] view, Twitter now is jumping to the front of the queue of the regulators.” It suggests Twitter is now in the regulator’s crosshairs as it prepares to enforce the DSA.

With Twitter’s workforce having gone through a considerable downsizing after Musk’s purchase, the Financial Times reports that EU officials are raising questions about its ability to comply with its strict regulations in the future.