Why Is the EU Threatening To Ban Twitter?
It’s getting cold outside! Come warm yourself by the Twitter dumpster fire. First, Elon Musk lit the fire by giving Twitter a bigger sacking than the Visigoths gave to Ancient Rome, then fanned the flames with his disastrous changes to the “blue check” policy, and then he poured GASOLINE on the fire by allowing former Cheeto-in-Chief Donald Trump to have his account back.
Everyone has been complaining about the burning trash smell for weeks, but the EU has had ENOUGH. They’re coming out with fire extinguishers and hazmat suits in order to tame the blaze. What do they propose? A full Twitter ban.
That’s intennnnnse. But fair. Why are they banning Twitter?
According to the Financial Times, the U.S. and the EU have being trying to pour sand on Elon’s dumpster BBQ by pressuring him to add regulations to his “haven for free speech.” What is Elon Musk’s definition of free speech? Mostly it’s the freedom to bash trans people on the internet. That’s debatably how this whole “I wAnNa buY tWiDdEr” thought started turning the hamster wheel that powers Elon Musk’s ferrety little mind in the first place. He also wanted to make a safe space for unsafe things like hate speech, bigotry, and unfounded conspiracy theories. Elon Musk believes that if people (i.e. Elon Musk himself) aren’t allowed to say whatever they want whenever they want to when using services provided by a private social media company, then American freedoms are in danger—which is kind of like saying that I should be free to go to ANY dumpster, fill it up with ANYTHING I WANT, and start ANY KIND OF FIRE I want to, no matter who it might hurt.
Europe ain’t having it. The Financial Times reports that the European Commission threatened to ban the social media platform outright unless Musk follows strict content moderation policies. Over a video call with Thierry Breton, the EU’s Commissioner of Internal Market, Musk was told that he must follow a “checklist of rules,” which includes doing away with the “arbitrary” policies he’s implemented to unban problematic Twitter users, “aggressively” combating disinformation, and allowing an “extensive independent audit” to be conducted on the social media platform by a third party.
If Musk refuses to follow these rules, he risks infringing upon the EU’s Digital Services Act, which is a law that “sets a global standard” for how Big Tech is to regulate internet content. Musk was warned that breaking this law would result in a total Twitter ban in Europe, or a 6% fine of global turnover. Which is A LOT of money. Fat stacks, in fact.
That freaked Elon Musk out. The billionaire responded that the DSU regulations were “very sensible,” and that the legislation should be applied worldwide. This likely happened after he locked himself in a bathroom whispering “theycan’tdothistometheycan’tdothistome” for 45 minutes straight, but that’s just speculation.
The jury is still out on whether or not Musk will actually implement these changes. After all, he has broken his word before. He previously told Twitter that banned users would not be unbanned without careful consideration from a team of people, but then decided to unilaterally unban Donald Trump after conducting a poll on the platform. According to Financial Times, EU officials have voiced similar concerns. After all, Musk fired nearly 8,000 Twitter employees and may lack the manpower to implement these changes effectively. He’ll probably come up with a work around by having his employees work 25 hours a day and shit in plastic bags, but again, this is just speculation.
Things can’t possibly get any worse for ol’ Lonny Boy, can they?
Oh, they can. While attempting to fend off European legislators with the pointy stick Musk calls “free speech,” he is also attempting to ward off U.S. officials from pouring water on his precious trash inferno. U.S. officials are reportedly discussing an investigation into Twitter’s foreign investors, namely Prince Al Waleed bin Talal Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. The prince rolled over 35 million public Twitter shares into his private company as part of Musk’s Twitter buyout. According to a statement from President Joe Biden in early November, Elon Musk’s “co-operation” with foreign investors is “worthy of being looked at” by the government. U.S. Treasurer Janet Yellen stated that the foreign investment could pose a “national security risk” when she was asked about Twitter at a New York Times conference, though she said a complete probe into Twitter’s financial practices was unlikely.
So … should we delete Twitter, then?
It’s up to you. If you want shut your blinds in order to shield your eyes from the dumpster conflagration, you are within your rights to do so. Elon Musk seems to be really interested in people’s “rights” these days, so it might be time that you asserted your right to ignore him and his trash pyromancy gremlin ways. However, if you’re like me and get a titter out of watching things burn, it might be time to pour yourself a cup of hot chocolate, pull up a lawn chair, and maybe even roast a marshmallow over the flames. I wouldn’t eat that marshmallow, though. After all, Trump is back on Twitter. It’s probably gonna be burned to an orange crisp by the time you pull it out.
(via Financial Times, featured image: Brendan Smialowski / AFP, Getty Images)
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