As Elon Musk prepares to take over his newly-acquired Twitter with promises to “transform” it into a platform for free speech, the European Union (EU) and the UK have delivered a rather frank warning over the allowance of hate speech on the site. Concerned that the platform will become a breeding ground for hateful and harmful comments, the EU and UK have told Musk that Twitter must comply with the EU’s Digital Services Act and the UK’s online safety bill, else risk punishment ranging from fines to a total ban.
“We welcome everyone. We are open but on our conditions. At least we know what to tell him: ‘Elon, there are rules. You are welcome but these are our rules. It’s not your rules which will apply here,’” Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner for the internal market, told the Financial Times.
If the platform allows speech that is against these laws, set to come into play in 2024, Twitter could face fines of up to 6 percent of global turnover or complete bans if incidents continue.
As a self-titled “free speech absolutist”, Musk has been vocal about the banning of users over hate speech, arguing that people should instead be allowed to express their opinions and extreme cases should be treated with a temporary suspension instead. Users have eagerly pointed out that the billionaire has a dubious past with the concept of free speech, including canceling a blogger’s Tesla order for an unflattering post, and Tesla itself has often tried to make customers sign non-disclosure agreements to access certain software.