The European Union has reportedly threatened to ban Twitter unless Elon Musk abides by its strict content moderation rules.
The warning, which has been reported by The Financial Times, could be the start of a regulatory battle over the future of the social media platform across Europe.
EU industry chief Thierry Breton made the threat during a video meeting with Musk on Wednesday, the news outlet said, citing people with knowledge of the conversation.
Breton told the world’s richest man he must adhere to a checklist of rules which are set out in the EU’s new Digital Services Act.
According to the report, these include a requirement to ditch an “arbitrary” approach to reinstating banned users and to agree to an “extensive independent audit” of the platform by next year.
The landmark law aims to set the global standard for how tech giants must police content on the internet
In a readout of the conversation provided by Breton, he told Musk: “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.”
Breton also called on Musk to apply strict rules, in line with the EU’s new digital requirements, to advertising, including a ban on targeting children or users based on sensitive information.
As a result, the pair agreed that the EU will carry out a “stress test” at Twitter’s headquarters early next year to assess the company’s compliance with the rules.
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What has Musk done since taking over Twitter?
While Musk has not yet publicly commented on the report, he has previously stated that Twitter would adhere to all relevant laws.
The 51-year-old completed his $44bn (£38bn) Twitter takeover back in October and has since made some controversial decisions regarding the running of the site.
The Tesla billionaire made headlines after sacking roughly half of the company’s 8,000 workers, including 15% of the trust and safety department.
He also reinstated previously banned accounts on the platform, including the one belonging to Donald Trump after conducting a Twitter poll asking users if they wanted to see him return.
Kanye West, who was banned from the site for making antisemitic remarks, has also seen his account reactivated.
Last week, Musk announced he will grant “amnesty” for suspended Twitter accounts – prompting experts to predict a rise in harassment, hate speech, and misinformation.