The European Union is threatening to hit Twitter CEO Elon Musk with sanctions after the entrepreneur suspended several accounts belonging to prominent journalists over their coverage of his real-time location.
“News about arbitrary suspension of journalists on Twitter is worrying,” tweeted Values and Transparency EU Commissioner Vera Jourova on Friday. “EU’s Digital Services Act requires respect of media freedom and fundamental rights,” she continued, reiterating that such rights are protected under the European Media Freedom Act, which is expected to go live next summer before becoming fully implemented come 2024. “[Elon Musk] should be aware of that. There are red lines. And sanctions, soon,” Vera warned.
The UK echoed similar sentiment regarding Musk’s suspensions, with a spokesperson for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak insisting that free speech must be upheld by social media platforms, regardless of whom they’re owned by. “We have been clear that regardless of ownership of social media platforms must balance protecting their users while upholding free speech,” they said on Friday, as cited by Reuters. “That is why under the Online Safety Bill large platforms like Twitter will be prohibited from suspending or banning users where this does not breach their terms of service.”
Likewise, the German Foreign Office also took issue with Musk’s suspensions, tweeting screenshots of the affected journalists’ accounts and warning that such moves won’t be viewed lightly by the ministry. “Press freedom cannot be switched on and off on a whim,” read the ministry’s post. “The journalists below can no longer follow us, comment and criticise. We have a problem with that, @Twitter.”
Elon Musk, the self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” appears to be walking back on making Twitter a “town square” where free speech can propagate. The billionaire on Thursday axed a number of journalists’ twitter accounts after they reported on, or shared, links to ElonJet, an account posting real-time tracking data of Musk’s personal jet. Musk pointed to Twitter’s terms of service as reasoning behind the decision, which forbids doxxing— the prohibited publishing of an individuals’ personal information. “Same doxxing rules apply to ‘journalists’ as to everyone else,” he explained.
Information for this briefing was found via Twitter, Reuters, and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.