Twitter’s Brussels office dismantled
The move by Elon Musk to rid the online platform of "woke" ideologues, has sparked EU concern over online content control. With Twitter dismantling its entire Brussels office, some EU officials claim the platform will no longer comply with their new rules on controlling online content.
Published: November 27, 2022, 6:31 am
The Brussels departures are part of a global trend, seen from India to France. Twitter executives who had previously dealt with government officials have either left the organisation in recent weeks or have been laid off in what appears to be a major staff reorganisation.
The company thus no longer has the staff to ensure compliance with local laws designed to control online content. EU sources have warned that this could expose the company to legal and regulatory action.
“I am concerned about the news of Twitter firing so many staff in Europe,” Věra Jourová, EU vice-president in charge of the “disinformation code”, told the Financial Times. “If you want to detect and take effective action against disinformation and propaganda, it requires resources.
“Especially in the context of the Russian disinformation war, I expect Twitter to fully respect EU law and honour its commitments. Twitter has been a very useful partner in the fight against disinformation and illegal hate speech and this must not change.”
Two individuals in charge of Twitter’s digital policy in Europe, left the company last week, according to five people with knowledge of the departures. It is not clear whether the two had resigned or had been fired.
Musk issued an ultimatum last week for staff to commit to a “hardcore work culture”.
Twitter no longer EU tool
The two had been leading the company’s efforts to comply with the EU’s “disinformation code” and the Digital Services Act, which came into force just recently, dictating new rules on how large companies “must keep users safe online”, essentially banning all content that does not toe the EU line.
Other Twitter executives in the Brussels office, seen as a crucial instrument for European policymakers, left the company earlier this month during staff cuts which saw half of its 7 500 employees eliminated.
The lay-offs came in the wake of a broken promise by various leftwing and “woke” organizations not to harm the platform’s advertising revenue.
Musk explained on Tuesday that his initial plan to have a “content moderation council with widely diverse viewpoints” had been designed because “a large coalition of political/social activist groups agreed not to try to kill Twitter by starving us of advertising revenue if I agreed to this condition”. Sadly, “they broke the deal” by immediately organizing an advertiser boycott against him.
In response, Musk said that he would rather listen to the voice of the people. On the US holiday of Thanksgiving, he announced that a general amnesty for suspended Twitter users who had not “broken the law or engaged in egregious spam” would begin “next week”.
Musk had posted a poll the day before the holiday on this issue and over 3 million votes, 72,4 percent of users said “yes” while only 27,6 percent said “no”.
“The people have spoken,” Musk announced after the poll closed. “Amnesty begins next week. Vox Populi, Vox Dei.”
Last month, the ADL had threatened Musk with “dire consequences” if he allowed back “dangerous individuals” like Donald Trump, Alex Jones, Nick Fuentes, Steve Bannon, Andrew Tate and David Duke.
The people have spoken.
Amnesty begins next week.
Vox Populi, Vox Dei.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 24, 2022
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