Twitter has chosen to withdraw from the European Union’s self-regulatory initiative designed to combat disinformation, according to the EU’s internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton. However, he warned Twitter that they can’t evade their responsibilities, hinting at forthcoming laws that will necessitate compliance.
The obligation for Twitter to combat disinformation within the EU becomes legally binding starting from August 25, as per Breton. He emphasized that the EU enforcement teams will be prepared to ensure compliance. Twitter, as yet, has not publicized its position on the code or responded to requests for comments.
Numerous tech companies, from large-scale firms to startups, have opted into the EU’s disinformation code, which includes industry giants like Meta, TikTok, Google, Microsoft, and Twitch. This code, introduced in June last year, is engineered to stifle the spread and financial exploitation of disinformation and false news. It also endeavors to increase transparency and restrain the proliferation of bots and false accounts.
Critics argue that moderation at Twitter has significantly declined under the leadership of Elon Musk, leading to a rise in the spread of disinformation. Previously, Twitter employed a team dedicated to combating coordinated disinformation efforts, but a majority of these specialists are no longer with the company, according to insiders.
The BBC reported last month that hundreds of state-backed propaganda accounts from Russia and China are currently active on Twitter. Nevertheless, Musk insists that there’s been a decrease in misinformation on the platform since he assumed control in October of the previous year.
Concurrently, the EU has enacted the Digital Services Act (DSA), which mandates companies to make a greater effort in managing illegal online content. As of August 25, platforms with over 45 million monthly users within the EU, Twitter included, will be legally obliged to comply with DSA regulations.
Under the DSA, Twitter must establish a system that allows users to report illegal content and respond promptly to such notifications. The platform must also implement strategies to counteract disinformation. A European Commission official was quoted by the AFP news agency saying that if Musk does not respect the code, it’s preferable that he leaves.