The social media behemoth Twitter, which Elon Musk recently acquired, will be subject to stricter new European regulations, a top EU commissioner reaffirmed on Friday.
According to several sources, Tesla CEO Elon Musk completed the $44 billion acquisition of Twitter on Thursday by letting go of key employees and preparing to steer a new direction with less content moderation.
In an apparent attempt to reassure his detractors, Musk tweeted that he purchased the platform “to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence.” He continued, “Twitter obviously cannot become a free-for-all hellscape, where anything can be said with no consequences!”
Several hours later, however, he cheekily added, “The bird is freed,” referring to Twitter’s bluebird logo.
But then, playing the spoiler to Musk’s quasi-libertarian ethos, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton swooped in to reply: “In Europe, the bird will fly by our rules.”
Breton shared a video of a meeting with Musk this May where they addressed the EU’s Digital Services Act, a new law laying out more accountability for platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to check for illegal and harmful content.
In the video, Elon Musk said the law is “exactly aligned” with his thoughts, adding: “I agree with everything you said. I think we’re very much of the same mind.”
“That’s what he said,” Breton posted over the video, as if to remind Musk of his pledge to abide by the law early in his months-long courtship of Twitter.
Notably, Musk has vowed to restore to the platform Donald Trump, the ex-US president a bipartisan congressional committee has argued is the “central” figure responsible for the violence on Jan. 6, 2021, when a mob of his supporters stormed the Capital, threatening to hang the vice president and hurt or kill lawmakers.
Trump had been banned for life, but Musk could reverse that, and has suggested other changes that could potentially make Twitter less friendly for users seeking a safe space, and more welcoming to those wanting a pulpit for bullies, according to his critics.