Venture capitalist and Twitter CEO Elon Musk appears ready to defy the European Union and its member states on their censorship laws.
While officials in the Biden administration have made clear that they do not approve of Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, there is very little they can do on free speech grounds. Some have discussed opening an anti-trust investigation in to Musk’s acquisition of the social media giant, however.
Some European Union states, such as Germany, require social media companies to censor on the government’s behalf if posts violate the country’s laws on hate speech.
The European Parliament also passed a sweeping law that will allow the EU to impose fines on social media platforms that do not comply with its prohibition on hate speech by 2024.
The fines could be as high as 6 percent of Twitter’s global revenue and could result in a complete ban of Twitter from European Union member states.
Twitter has reportedly shut down its office in the de-facto capital of the European Union this week in a potential shot across the bow at the bloc over freedom of speech.
A showdown between the censorious European Union and the notionally pro-free speech Elon Musk may be brewing after the new Twitter chief reportedly shut down its office in Brussels this week.
According to a report from the Financial Times, the office was shut down after the departure of Dario La Nasa and Julia Mozer, who previously served as conduits between the company and Eurocrats as well as being in charge of Twitter’s digital policy in Europe.
While it is not clear at present why the two employees left the company, however, the move comes just one week after the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) finally came into force. The legislation grants Brussels more powers to police so-called ‘hate speech’, while also enacting punishment mechanisms against internet platforms that fail to abide by the bloc’s rules.