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EU Threatens to Shut Down Twitter as Musk Eases Censorship Rules

EU Threatens to Shut Down Twitter as Musk Eases Censorship Rules

German newspaper Die Tageszeitung: “The EU is monitoring Twitter very closely since its takeover [by] Elon Musk.”

The European Union has threatened to shut down Twitter if it fails to comply with its new set of regulations.

“EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton, threatens to shut down Twitter if the short messaging service does not comply with the European rules,” the German newspaper Die Tageszeitung reported Saturday.

“The EU is monitoring Twitter very closely since its takeover [by] Elon Musk,” the daily warned.

The EU ruling elites are apparently rattled by Musk’s attempts to allow free speech across the platform. Die Tageszeitung explained:

Musk declared himself a champion of free speech upon his multi-billion dollar takeover of Twitter. But, there are significant legal, political and ideological differences between these ideas in the U.S. and Europe.

“And if the rule-breaking continues, we can shut down the platform in Europe. No one should be under any misconception: we would do it, if it becomes necessary,” EU commissar Breton told the German news agency Funke Media Gruppe.

The warning comes nearly two weeks after Musk disbanded Twitter’s entire Brussels office, which according to news reports, was committed to enforcing the latest round of EU restrictions. “Musk has sacked Twitter’s entire Brussels office—and that’s put him on a collision course with new EU laws,” Fortune magazine warned.

Twitter’s Brussels office apparently disagreed with Musk’s plans to ease censorship on the platform. “Elon Musk has disbanded Twitter’s entire office in Brussels after a row over the policing of the social network’s content in the bloc,” the UK newspaper Telegraph reported in late November.

“The executives were the driving force in getting the company to comply with the EU’s landmark Digital Services act, which came into force last week setting new rules for Big Tech firms to keep users safe online,” the British paper added.

Twitter’s Brussels-based executives may have resigned over Musk’s demand to show up for work and put in longer hours — an apparent affront to their European sensitivities.

The Belgian staff “may have left after new Twitter boss Elon Musk’s ultimatum to commit to “hardcore working culture” and working long hours, or else leave the company with three months’ severance pay,” the French TV channel Euronews reported.

A new law passed by the EU, known as the Digital Services Act, seeks to impose billions of dollars in fines on online platforms that fail to comply with Brussels’ regulations.

“The DSA, which was passed by the European Parliament in July, will demand accountability and transparency from Twitter about decisions the company takes and paves the way for Europe to issue fines of billion[s] of dollars if the company fails to comply,” the tech magazine CNET noted in October.

The European media and political elite are worried that Musk could allow previously-banned conservative influencers back on Twitter. Leading U.S. conservative figures like former president Donald Trump’s return on the platform could galvanize nationalist and anti-establishment movements across Europe.

[Excerpts from German media reports translated by the author] 


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My answer would be, “It’s the internet. You’re welcome to try.”

    healthguyfsu in reply to GWB. | December 6, 2022 at 1:25 pm

    I wish it were that simple. It affects advertisers.

    SeiteiSouther in reply to GWB. | December 6, 2022 at 2:15 pm

    And then people will get on the site via a VPN. There’s no real way for them to 100% shut this down, other than make it slightly inconvenient.

      thad_the_man in reply to SeiteiSouther. | December 6, 2022 at 8:10 pm

      There are two VPN’s that give 10G/month free.Windscribe and privado. That should be more then enough for people’s twitter needs.

Power hungry EU, on their way to being a one world government, has too many rules. For member countries there are more disadvantages than advantages.

The easy course and ultimately most satisfying one is bifurcation of twitter. Create a silo for EU twitter. Let the EU impose whatever weirdo rules for that silo they want.

The individual account holders of Twitter worldwide could then choose to remain in the much more open and free US Twitter silo OR choose to migrate their account to the far less free EU version of Twitter.

That has the benefit of giving the EU the rules they wish to be implemented without giving them control of individuals accounts or worldwide content. When the individual account holders don’t choose to migrate their account to EU Twitter then what can the EU do or say?

‘Hey, Twitter we want you to force people to do what we want?’ or ‘You can’t give people any choice?’ This will make plain the limits of EU authority. They can’t reasonably argue for extraterritorial control over the US Twitter silo. They can’t easily force individuals to migrate their accounts to the EU Twitter silo. The EU will be forced to go full totalitarian and confiscate devices to make people switch over if they refuse.

    That wouldn’t work. Because any portion of Twitter remaining in Europe would place all of Twitter within their reach for fining purposes. Best to leave Europe altogether and make sure your money is somewhere they can’t reach it. (Some country that will not enforce the EU’s fines.)

      CommoChief in reply to GWB. | December 6, 2022 at 2:13 pm

      If Twitter has built the EU silo and imposed the EU content controls but individuals choose not to migrate their account into that version then that’s not Twitter’s problem. Even if Twitter sets the accounts there initially but allows migration out to the US silo at individual discretion it still works to frustrate the EU.

      What the EU wants is extraterritorial control of worldwide platforms. This proposal is a way to comply with the demand to set it up as the EU wants. It leaves the EU no way to restrict individuals from choosing the US silo of ‘big boy’ Twitter or to force them stay in the EU silo of ‘training wheel’ Twitter.

      No way without the EU being the entity that forces individual compliance anyway. The individuals can then make their own determination about whether they wish to continue granting power to the EU bureaucracy or if their Nations should exit the EU.

        But they use their rule-making to impose fines on that “siloed” Twitter, if it’s in Europe. If it’s even remotely related, business-wise, then those fines come back to Musk. If the siloed Twitter isn’t based in Europe in any way, then what point is there in even doing it? Just tell them to go suck eggs.

        Ironclaw in reply to CommoChief. | December 6, 2022 at 2:48 pm

        Their point is they don’t want the users to have that choice. Censorship doesn’t work very well when the victims or their intended audience can just walk around it.

        Better to simply block the IP ranges of all of the EU countries and call it done. If the people there find a way around it, not your problem.

          CommoChief in reply to Ironclaw. | December 6, 2022 at 3:41 pm

          Yes that’s my point. The EU bureaucracy wants to be in charge of a sandbox. So build them a sandbox with their safe space framework.

          If the citizens of Europe or the the USA for that matter choose to play in the EU safe space sandbox then cool. However, if they citizens don’t choose the safe space, training wheels EU version of Twitter and instead choose to remain in the big boy version of Twitter then what?

          The EU bureaucracy is left looking foolish. They got their safe space but no people didn’t choose it. Will they try and force individual citizens in European Nations to restrict themselves to the safe space? This proposal is about using a judo concept. Use the power of the opponent against them. This sets up the EU bureaucracy as the unreasonable, heavy handed totalitarians.

          If the EU folds in the face of public ridicule and some EU Nations pushing back then great. If they go full steam ahead to totalitarianism they are exposed for all to see. The full steam ahead approach will generate even more backlash and ridicule.

          This is an opportunity to take advantage of the existing tension among EU member Nations and the citizens of European Nations with the EU bureaucracy. It sets the EU up to fail. That is a worthy goal. Blocking the IP from Europe will invite the EU bureaucracy to hold Twitter accountable for some other manufactured BS about denying business and communication opportunities or some crap.

          Either way there will be a conflict so there is no avoiding it by blocking service to Europe. May as well set up a more favorable tactical and strategic position for that inevitable conflict.

    Otto Kringelein in reply to CommoChief. | December 6, 2022 at 8:35 pm

    The individual account holders of Twitter worldwide could then choose to remain in the much more open and free US Twitter silo OR choose to migrate their account to the far less free EU version of Twitter.

    No, you set up the EU silo and then put all EU Twitter accounts into that silo. You do not give them a choice. And then you geo-fence the EU silo to the 27 EU member states (ie. you don’t let them connect to the wider Twitter system worldwide), and then tell the EU PTB to have at it and they can do whatever they want to their own citizens.

    But you don’t give them a choice. And if they don’t like what the EU leadership does then they can make their displeasure known to EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Thierry Breton and deal with him.

    End of problem.

      CommoChief in reply to Otto Kringelein. | December 6, 2022 at 9:29 pm

      Doing it that way Twitter will be directly punishing the individuals. Why not create it and leave the choice to use it up to the individual? Especially when it will reveal the very overlooked point in the comments so far that most EU Twitter users don’t want a safe space style Twitter and given a choice will reject it for big boy Twitter.

      Then the EU bureaucracy is in the position of forcing the users who didn’t want the safe space option to adopt it or the EU bureaucracy will back down. If they go full totalitarian and force it then some National govts may well push back on the bureaucracy; Hungary comes to mind.

      IMO working to do the bidding of a totalitarian EU bureaucracy is a bad idea for Twitter in the long term. They bureaucracy will come back for another round of concessions unless they are stopped.

to keep users safe online
It does NO such thing. It merely “protects” them from ideas their masters consider unhelpful to keeping them in their chains.

could galvanize nationalist and anti-establishment movements across Europe
IOW, they would have to work harder to keep their grip on the people. Awwww, here’s a box of tissues.

I hear there’s a successful nation-state run short text site the EU could invest in, but that program is run by China and they can’t have that.

They can’t “shut down” Twitter. They can only “shut out” Twitter.
So let them go ahead and be China II. The whole world is watching.

It is an empty threat, but Twitter maybe should ban a couple of EU institutions to test their resolve. The comissar threatening free speech should be a prime contender….

2smartforlibs | December 6, 2022 at 1:38 pm

France attempted this with Rumble. They still have Rumble.

The facts are that no country but the US has free speech at all. That is why it is important to keep it here.
Among the many things that they were looking forward to in 2016 was a SCOTUS to kill the 1st and 2nd amendments.

BierceAmbrose | December 6, 2022 at 1:50 pm

So, the end-state of state authoritah demanding industry do this, or that is … state authoritah demanding industry do this or that. You are just arms of the Ministry of Whatever. Good to know.

Our European Friends ought to build themselves their own Twit-Sphere. There’s an example: CCP China has already done this.(*)

The fun news is that with power costs spiking this winter and most likely a worldwide food crisis next spring and summer, the Germans are probably going to run out of money to fund the EU. Brussels may once again be known only for its sprouts.

    henrybowman in reply to mbecker908. | December 7, 2022 at 12:29 am

    To be fair, they HAVE done bang-up job with those. Bred the bitter right out of them. Or maybe they just transfused it into their politicians;

BierceAmbrose | December 6, 2022 at 1:52 pm

Funny how they always come at something already in place, n going; something where the people who made it go have something to loose.

They wanna run it; go do it. Like those Airane rockets.

BierceAmbrose | December 6, 2022 at 1:57 pm

Who is The Real Rocket Man to think he gets to decide what to offer his paying customers; his customers to decide what they want n value?

This. Is. The EU. Everything not compulsory is forbidden.

It’s like Twitter, and their Customers think they’re free Railroad workers, able to take or reject whatever arrangements fit for them. It’s not like there’s labor conscription in the Enlightened West. Terms declared by “special” board appointed by The Maximum Leader. Enforced under authoritah the enforcers granted themselves near 100 years ago. (But good to have; you never know when you’re gonna need it.)

Wait, what?


BierceAmbrose | December 6, 2022 at 2:02 pm

“CCP China has already done this.(*)”

Finally found a decent quick handle for the Nationalist, Mercantilist, Conscript, enthno-nation state run by the CCP and their Maximum Leader in the historical nation of China.

Musk fired the EU’s Twitter speech police. Is there a speech police occupational school and accrediting system? Do they wear uniforms? I’d like some transparency. Under what criteria do they operate?

We all know the EU’s political system is a corrupt and weird tangle of Marxist aristocracy and controlled economy.

The Euro’s want their cut of the action. Elon, pay up.

Musk wanted to protect US freedom of speech, not the world’s. He can let them shut it down, but that would hurt the prestige of the EU bureaucrats.

I see a lot of Europeans switching to VPN.

The EU needs Twitter a hell of a lot more than Twitter needs the EU.

I love hearing Europeans bitch in English.

I would simply block their IP ranges and call it done. If the people there find a way around that, that’s not my problem.

Fat_Freddys_Cat | December 6, 2022 at 3:54 pm

I suspect they will find out what is meant by “You can’t stop the signal, Mal”.

Change the terms of service that all DMs from that country are made public IF that country or multi-country agency fines Twitter.

There are two VPN’s that give 10G/month free.Windscribe and privado. That should be more then enough for people’s twitter needs.

His inner-Nazi is showing.

Musk should buy a small air force to go along with his rockets and declare war on europe. He’d probably win too. Bunch of pansies over there.

Musk must have thousands of direct messages from EU leadership demanding censorship of posts that simply hurt them politically.

He could also start “fact checking” all of their garbage, starting with their anti-science demands that people wear worse than useless masks vs Covid, and that the “vaccine”, which is not a vaccine, would prevent you from contracting or spreading the disease.

Tag all of their own posts as “disinformation”.

SeekingRationalThought | December 7, 2022 at 2:16 am

That’s a useful picture at the head of the story. It shows how EuroTrash looks as it ages (badly).

Use the TOR browser. Problem solved.

The Biden Admin is SOOOOOOOO jealous of the power exhibited by EU Commissioner for Internal Market! His Progressives have a raging case of EU-Envy!

I’m curious as to what nexus the EU would have if Musk removes his physical presence from EU countries. Because EU law is clear that w/o nexus, the EU does not have the power to act.

And with Twitter, that nexus would have to be physical as Twitter is a US company and not subject to the EU’s requirements regarding its practices.

So if I were Musk, I’d remove everything from the EU and fire all the EU employees and be done with it.

Welcome to the new NAZI party. Way to go germany. thats progress

    Nazi. Perhaps Dezi. TransNazi. Progress is an [unqualified] monotonic process: one step forward, two steps backward. #PrinciplesMatter

You have freedom under threat is a model of [Anti]fascism.

German fascism rises again.