Twitter Likely To Quit EU Code Against Disinformation, Says Official

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Elon Musk’s Twitter is likely to pull out from a voluntary EU code of practice to combat disinformation, official says

Twitter under the ownership of Elon Musk is expected to make a major change to its disinformation efforts, at least one European official has indicated.

Reuters reported that an EU official said on Thursday that Twitter is likely to pull out from a voluntary EU code of practice to tackle disinformation, but the move does not mean it will quit Europe.

It comes after Twitter was criticised by the European Commission in February over it’s compliance with European rules on tackling disinformation. Indeed, the EC said at the time that Twitter’s efforts were falling short compared to its rivals.

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Disinformation policy

The European Commission had beefed up the disinformation code last year, requiring companies to submit regular progress reports with data on how much advertising revenue they had averted from disinformation actors.

Reuters noted the new obligations included providing information on the number or value of political advertisements accepted or rejected and instances of manipulative behaviours detected.

Twitter has given signs that it will leave the code, the EU official reportedly said, adding that it does not make a big difference as the company has not been putting in a lot of effort recently.

“It just means that they won’t attend meetings and not issue reports. They would still have legal obligations,” the official said, referring to the landmark tech rules adopted recently to which the code of practice is linked.

“They are not pulling out of Europe”, the official said.

Twitter did not respond immediately to a request for comment from Reuters.

Potential fines

Violations of the European tech rules can cost companies fines as much as 6 percent of their global turnover.

The fact that Twitter is struggling to meet its reporting requirements should come as no surprise, considering Elon Musk has gutted Twitter’s workforce since taking control.

Musk laid off 80 percent of the 7,500 workforce, and he also gutted Twitter’s external contractor teams, whose role was to ensure the platform was free of misinformation and hate – a move that has raised concern of a surge in hate speech on the platform.