New Twitter boss Elon Musk continues to spark controversies, from firing most of the company’s employees to dabbling with key features and restoring banned accounts. Now, the billionaire is up against regulators in the European Union (EU).
Musk has, time and again, said that his mission at Twitter is to maximize free speech. He appears to be looking for new solutions to very old problems by changing almost everything that goes on behind the scenes. This has put the EU industry chief in the crosshairs with him.
Bloc’s Second Warning
During a video meeting, EU industry chief Thierry Breton threatened the social media platform with a ban unless Musk complies with its strict rules on content moderation. According to a report by FT, Breton told Musk to abandon an “arbitrary” approach to restoring banned users and adhere to an “extensive independent audit” of the platform by next year.
Following the meeting, Breton said he welcomes Musk’s statements of intent to get Twitter 2.0 ready for the DSA, but he believes the platform has “massive work ahead” to meet its commitments under Digital Services Act – which happens to be Europe’s new platform regulation.
“But let’s also be clear that there is still huge work ahead, as Twitter will have to implement transparent user policies, significantly reinforce content moderation and protect freedom of speech, tackle disinformation with resolve, and limit targeted advertising.”
Notably, this isn’t Breton’s first warning shot at Musk over his erratic piloting of Twitter since his takeover last month. Previously, the EU Commissioner for Internal Market urged the controversial business magnate to comply with landmark rules of the bloc against online hate speech and disinformation. The European Commission’s justice chief Didier Reynders also echoed similar concerns.
However, Musk has agreed to allow EU officials “stress test” the social media site for DSA compliance in early 2023. Meanwhile, Twitter will have “plenty” of time to make necessary changes to fulfill regulatory obligations, Brenton highlighted.
War Вith Apple: A Risky Gambit?
After a tumultuous month atop Twitter, Musk announced war against Apple Inc. He started the week by calling out the iPhone maker for allegedly cutting its Twitter advertising and threatening to block the social network from Apple’s app store.
Among Twitter’s new features that rolled out on November 9th was Musk’s ambitious vision to make the platform less reliant on advertising by steering users toward its Blue subscription service. But ad services generated nearly 90% of its $5.1 billion in revenue last year. And a good chunk came from Apple, which has historically relied heavily on Twitter.
In a series of tweets, attributing Apple CEO Tim Cook, Musk asked whether the company “hated free speech” and if it would go after Tesla, his electric-car company.
Fast forward to Wednesday, the Twitter owner revealed a meeting with Cook that “resolved the misunderstanding.” He further said,
“Good conversation. Among other things, we resolved the misunderstanding about Twitter potentially being removed from the App Store. Tim was clear that Apple never considered doing so.”
Musk, who also runs Tesla and SpaceX, also revealed his plan to make an alternative phone if Apple and Google app stores remove the Twitter app.