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Exclusive-EU industry chief Breton urges more compliance efforts from Twitter’s Musk By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his security detail depart the company’s local office in Washington, U.S. January 27, 2023. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -European Union industry chief Thierry Breton on Tuesday told Twitter owner Elon Musk on Tuesday to do more to fully comply with the bloc’s online content rules, ramping up pressure on the company amid concerns it may fall short on compliance efforts.

The two held a video call two months ago during which Breton warned Musk of “huge work ahead” for Twitter to apply transparent use policies, significantly reinforce content moderation and protect freedom of speech.

Such obligations are set out in the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), which entered into force in November last year targeting online platforms which could face fines up to 6% of their global turnover for breaches.

There are concerns whether Twitter can live up to its obligations under the EU’s Digital Services Act after Musk cut thousands of jobs since he took over the company.

“I welcome the effort that Twitter is making to be in line with Europe’s objectives, while acknowledging that the next months will be crucial,” Breton said after a video call with Musk.

“We need to see more progress towards full compliance with the DSA. My team will follow closely the work made by Twitter and by all other online platforms,” according to a readout of the call.

Musk tweeted about a good meeting with Breton, saying that the DSA’s goals of transparency, accountability and accurate information are aligned with Twitter’s.

Breton told Musk that he is vigilant regarding the resources and tools that Twitter is allocating to address trust and safety issues across the European Union in all European languages, the readout said. Twitter will do a stress test in the coming weeks.

The EU Commissioner also stressed the importance of Twitter delivering on its commitments to the EU Code of Practice on Disinformation. Companies which signed up to the Code are due to issue reports on their efforts next week.

A Twitter program that was crucial for outside researchers studying state-backed disinformation campaigns has stalled after Musk’s takeover. The program was a key plank of Twitter’s plan to comply with the Digital Services Act, a former company executive previously told Reuters.

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