Twitter has agreed to follow stringent new European Union (EU) laws on fake news, Russian propaganda, and online crime, said a report by The Guardian.
This decision was made following a visit by EU officials to Twitter’s headquarters, where they conducted a simulated exercise with the company’s staff to assess its ability to operate within the boundaries of European legislation.
The development occurred shortly after Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, withdrew from the EU’s voluntary code of practice on disinformation. In an unprecedented move, EU officials were granted access to Twitter’s headquarters to conduct a mock exercise aimed at testing the company’s measures against Russian propaganda, fake news, and criminal activities, including the exploitation of children.
Thierry Breton, the commissioner in charge of enforcing the new Digital Services Act, praised Twitter’s voluntary participation in the test. He emphasised that the EU would swiftly and firmly enforce the comprehensive new laws, which are set to go into effect in August.
Breton stated, “When it comes to online crime, there can be no half measures. Very large online platforms need to implement the necessary internal controls and allocate sufficient resources to comply with the new European rules.”
While the new laws will be enforced starting on August 25, concerns had arisen within the EU regarding Twitter’s compliance. One commissioner recently warned the company that an unruly operation akin to the “wild west” would not be tolerated.
During the exercise, various aspects were assessed, including recommended content, controls to combat illegal content such as online child sexual exploitation, and Twitter’s approach to tackling disinformation.
Forty-four companies, including Google and Facebook, are currently taking part in the EU’s code of practice, which aims to help social media platforms prepare for the upcoming laws.
The EU had warned Elon Musk that non-compliance with the regulations could result in a total ban in Europe or fines of up to six per cent of Twitter’s global revenue.
During his visit to Silicon Valley, Breton acknowledged that Twitter had a long way to go in terms of readiness.
“Twitter is taking the exercise seriously and has identified the key areas on which it needs to focus to comply with the DSA. With two months remaining before the new EU regulation takes effect, work must continue to ensure that the necessary systems are in place and can operate effectively and efficiently,’ he said.