A European regulator today reportedly threatened Elon Musk with a computer-wide ban on Twitter if the company fails to enforce content moderation rules required by Digital Services Act. Also today, Twitter says it hasn’t changed any policies — though it has stopped enforcing rules against COVID misinformation.
“As we do this work, we want to reassure you of a few things: First, none of our policies have changed,” Twitter wrote in a statement. blog post titled, “Twitter 2.0: Our continued commitment to public communication.”
Twitter made this claim a week after a major change in how it handles COVID misinformation. “Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter will no longer enforce the COVID-19 misleading information policy,” Twitter said. We wrote about the change yesterday.
Today’s “Twitter 2.0” blog post continues to say: “Our approach to policy implementation will rely more on the de-amplification of offending content: freedom of speech, but not freedom of reach.”
Meanwhile, EU Commissioner Thierry Breton in a video conference warned Musk about compliance with European Commission rules. “There is still a great deal of work ahead, as Twitter will have to implement clear user policies, prioritize content moderation and protect freedom of expression, tackle vandalism with determination, and end targeted advertising,” Breton told Musk, according to Reuters article.
“Musk and Breton agreed that the EU will conduct a ‘stress test’ at the Twitter company in early 2023 to assess Twitter’s compliance with EU rules,” Reuters wrote.
According to the Financial Times“Breton told Musk that Twitter must adhere to a checklist of rules, including maintaining an ‘absolute’ method to reinstate banned users, pursuing ‘inside’ misconduct and agreeing to a ‘massive independent review’ of the platform by next year coming.”
The Times cited “people with knowledge of the conversation,” while the quote in the Reuters article came from a reading of the conversation provided by Breton. “Musk has been warned that unless he sticks to those rules Twitter risks violating the EU’s new Digital Services Act, the new law that sets the global standard for how Big Tech must police content on the Internet. Breton also said that Twitter could face a Europe-wide ban or fines of up to 6 percent of global turnover if it breaks the law,” the FT article said.
Musk told Breton that the Digital Jobs Act is “very smart.” One of “the EU’s demands is that Musk provide clear requirements which users are at risk of being banned,” the FT wrote. With Trump, Musk restored the account after Twitter users voted.
Twitter: Moderate party “strong and well-resourced”
Twitter’s blog post tried to ease concerns that a lack of staff would prevent proper content moderation. “Our Trust & Security team continues its diligent work to keep the platform safe from hate speech, abusive behavior, and any crime Twitter rules. The team is also strong and well-resourced, and the presence of automation plays an increasingly important role in eliminating abuse,” the company said.
As previously reported, resignations and resignations befell the Twitter team responsible for policing child sexual material.
Twitter’s former head of trust and security, Yoel Roth, said yesterday that he was resigning because of Musk’s orders by “constitutional order,” and that a series of resignations and layoffs hurt Twitter’s ability to block harmful content. Roth said automated systems can’t completely replace human review and he doesn’t think Twitter has “anyone left in the company who can do that job to keep pace” with malicious campaigns.
Roth also said that the COVID “policy change is very bad and damaging.”