BRUSSELS: Twitter “chose confrontation” by exiting a voluntary EU disinformation code of practice that lays ground rules for an incoming European law on digital services, a European Union commissioner said Monday.
“We believe this is a mistake of Twitter. Twitter has chosen the hard way. They chose confrontation,” commissioner Vera Jourova told journalists.
She said Twitter’s compliance with the new Digital Services Act (DSA) entering force on August 25 “will be scrutinised… vigorously and urgently”.
The European Commission announced May 27 that Twitter had decided to leave the code of practice, to which other major online platforms such as Google, Microsoft and TikTok continue to adhere.
The voluntary pact, which was launched in 2018 and strengthened last year with input from industry players, contains over three dozen pledges such as better cooperation with fact-checkers and not promoting actors that distribute disinformation.
It serves as a test feeder to the DSA, which will impose legal obligations on big platforms and impose penalties that could go up to six percent of a company’s global revenues in case of violation.
Since Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion in October, it has cut more than 80 percent of the workforce and got rid of many moderators who vetted content for disinformation and harmful messages.
Jourova said “I can’t predict” what conclusions the commission might make about Twitter’s possible distribution of disinformation once the DSA comes into force.
But she said that signatories in the code of practice would have an “easier situation” because they would already have cleared the “burden of proof”.
“There is an interplay between the code of practice, which is a voluntary agreement, and the Digital Services Act, which is enforceable,” Jourova observed.
“I would like to give Twitter the chance to defend the right to make business in Europe without any sanction,” she said.