Twitter has withdrawn from a voluntary agreement with the European Union (EU) aimed at combatting online disinformation. The bloc’s internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, tweeted that the social media giant had left the EU’s ‘Code of Practice against Disinformation’. “You can run but you can’t hide. Our teams are ready for enforcement,” the tweet said, referring to the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA). As of August 25th, the Act will require large online platforms like Twitter to take more responsibility for content moderation.
Twitter leaves EU voluntary Code of Practice against disinformation.
But obligations remain. You can run but you can’t hide.
Beyond voluntary commitments, fighting disinformation will be legal obligation under #DSA as of August 25.
Our teams will be ready for enforcement.
— Thierry Breton (@ThierryBreton) May 26, 2023
Engadget was unable to contact Twitter’s communications department for comment. Twitter began participating in the EU’s Code of Practice against Disinformation in 2018, alongside firms such as Google, TikTok, and parent company Meta (formerly known as Facebook). Although adherence to the code is voluntary, the EU indicated that compliance would count towards adherence to the DSA. TechCrunch suggests that Twitter’s decision to withdraw from the agreement so close to the DSA coming into force implies that the company intends to avoid following EU regulations on content moderation.
However, ignoring the DSA could lead to a costly fight for Twitter and CEO Elon Musk. The legislation allows EU officials to impose penalties of up to 10% of global annual turnover for infractions and fines of up to 20% of worldwide turnover for repeat instances of non-compliance. The European Commission has also said that repeated non-compliance could result in the EU blocking access to offending services.
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