The Twitter headquarters in San Francisco, California, United States, November 4, 2022. /CFP
A top European Union official is in Silicon Valley to check whether Twitter is ready to comply with the bloc’s tough new digital rulebook, a set of sweeping new standards that the world’s biggest online platforms all must obey in just two months.
European Commissioner Thierry Breton, who oversees digital policy, is the EU’s point person working to get tech companies in line for the Digital Services Act, which will force companies to crack down on hate speech, disinformation and other harmful material on their sites. It takes effect August 25 for the biggest platforms.
The law, along with new regulations in the pipeline for data and artificial intelligence, has made Brussels a trailblazer in the growing global movement to clamp down on Big Tech.
Breton tweeted about his meeting Thursday at Twitter headquarters to carry out a voluntary “stress test” to prepare for the new rules.
“The company is taking this exercise very seriously,” he said, adding he had “constructive dialogue” with owner Elon Musk and new CEO Linda Yaccarino
The mock exercise tested Twitter’s readiness to cope with the DSA’s requirements, including protecting children online and detecting and mitigating risks like disinformation, under both normal and extreme situations.
Under the Digital Services Act, combating disinformation will become a legal requirement.
Musk has said Twitter will comply. “If laws are passed, Twitter will obey the law,” he told the France 2 TV channel this week when asked about the DSA.
The DSA is part of a sweeping update to the EU’s digital rulebook aimed at forcing tech companies to clean up their platforms and better protect users online.
For European users of big tech platforms, it will be easier to report illegal content like hate speech, and they will get more information on why they have been recommended certain content.
Violations will incur fines worth up to 6 percent of annual global revenue – amounting to billions of dollars for some tech giants – or even a ban on operating in the EU, with its 450 million consumers.
(With input from AP)