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Elon Musk says he’s ‘completely on the same page’ as EU regulators

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Tesla billionaire and future Twitter owner Elon Musk says he’s “very much on the same page” as the European Union over the Digital Services Act, a set of regulations on web platforms . Musk appeared in a short video alongside EU Commissioner Thierry Breton to confirm his support for the DSA, which – among other things – requires major platforms to monitor illegal content and assess the risk of harm their services pose, including through misinformation.

“I think it’s exactly aligned” with the future goals of the Twitter platform, Musk said in a short video posted by Breton. “It’s been a great discussion, and I really think I agree with everything you’ve said, really. I think we’re pretty much of the same mind, and I think anything my businesses can do that would be good for Europe, we want to do that. Musk followed up with a tweeted reply to video. “Great meeting! We are totally on the same wavelength,” he said.

The video reinforces past statements that Twitter’s moderation should “correspond to the laws” of a country in which it operates, and Musk’s priorities bear clear similarities to the DSA. Both are very keen on transparency, for example: Musk suggested making Twitter’s recommendation algorithms “open source,” while the DSA would require major platforms to explain their algorithms to the EU. Similarly, the DSA is asking platforms to assess the risk of harm from bots and fake accounts, while Musk has pledged to “authenticate all humans” on Twitter despite concerns from some users who operate in ways anonymous for security reasons. And while not mentioned in this video, the separate Digital Markets Act (DMA) hits practices like Apple imposing a 30% charge on App Store purchases, which Musk called ” de facto global tax on the Internet”.

But the EU will also require companies to identify and mitigate possible social risks posed by their platforms, potentially from legal and illegal content. It asks businesses to work with the EU to fight misinformation and promote democracy, encouraging the use of “crisis protocols” that could limit the flow of inaccurate information during pandemics, earthquakes or disasters. other natural disasters. This may require stricter moderation of user speech in a way that the First Amendment in the United States would not allow the government to impose. Meanwhile, Musk’s other businesses, like Tesla, rely heavily on markets like Germany, so Twitter can’t just ignore those regulations.

Musk defined “free speech” as speech that fits the laws of a given country, regardless of what those laws allow. “If people want less free speech, they will ask the government to pass laws to that effect,” he tweeted end of April. But that poses challenges on a global platform like Twitter. Although the DSA only applies to users in Europe, its policies could be difficult to reconcile with Musk’s commitment to speech maximalism in the United States, as moderation in one country can affect the content that people all over the world see. And as Musk’s reference to his many ventures suggests, he has a lot to lose by angering the EU if those goals come into conflict.

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