Friday, 29 Sep 2023

Unprepared Twitter among tech firms to face tough new EU digital rules

Unprepared Twitter among tech firms to face tough new EU digital rules


Unprepared Twitter among tech firms to face tough new EU digital rules

Twitter is among the tech firms that will face the toughest level of scrutiny under a new European Union regulatory regime for monitoring digital platforms, after warnings from Brussels that the Elon Musk-owned platform is unprepared for the new rules.

The company, which Musk bought in October 2022, has been designated a "very large online platform" under the bloc's Digital Services Act, which means complying with measures such as publishing an independent audit of its compliance with the legislation.

It will be joined by 16 other major names including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Wikipedia, Snapchat and TikTok.

Twitter has been repeatedly warned that it is not ready for the new rules, with breaches risking a fine of 6% of global turnover and, in the most extreme cases, a temporary suspension of the service. Under Musk's ownership Twitter has reduced its workforce from 7,500 people to about 1,500, leading to fears that moderation standards and its ability to comply with the act would suffer as a consequence.

In November last year, the EU's commissioner for the internal market, Thierry Breton, implied that Twitter was in danger of non-compliance with the act, telling Musk that the company will have to raise its efforts to "pass the grade". Breton added that Musk had "huge work ahead" to comply with the DSA. However, a readout of the November meeting with Musk added that the Tesla CEO had "committed to comply" with the DSA.

In January, Breton again urged Musk to "progress towards full compliance with the DSA", with Musk replying that the DSA's goals of transparency, accountability and accurate information were aligned with Twitter's.

Under the rules for large platforms, they must carry out annual risk assessments outlining the risks of harmful content such as disinformation, misogyny, harms to children and election manipulation. The moderation systems and measures put in place to mitigate those risks will also be checked by the EU.

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