A top EU official has been blasted after he warned Elon Musk that Twitter must “fly by our rules”. Thierry Breton, Commissioner for EU Internal Market, took to social media to respond to Mr Musk’s announcement that “the bird is freed”, insisting it must still abide by the bloc’s rules on content.
Mr Breton said on Twitter itself: “In Europe, the bird will fly by our rules.”
He also referenced the bloc’s Digital Services Act, which requires providers of digital services to take swift action against illegal online content such as hate speech, and linked to a video of him and Mr Musk meeting in May.
The clip sees Mr Breton tell Mr Musk that “I was happy to … explain to you the DSA, a new regulation in Europe”.
The Tesla CEO and new owner of the social media giant said back: “I agree with everything you said.”
However, GB News presenter and former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said the EU’s “arrogance knows no bounds” after Mr Breton’s comment.
Henry Bolton OBE, former Ukip leader, also said on Twitter: “The shear arrogance of this tweet from Thierry Breton is characteristic of the world view of EU’s leadership.
“They think they’re superior to us mere mortals. We should thank our lucky stars that 17.4 million of us saw the sense to leave.
“Now let’s make the most of it.”
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Nina Byzantina, a Russian author, added on Twitter: “I love when Eurocrats admit to being tinpot authoritarians while paternalistically preaching something, something, democracy to those outside their little ‘garden’.”
President of Judicial Watch Tom Fitton in the US added: “Angry at the possibility of more free speech, leftist French EU bureaucrat threatens American company.
“As the Biden administration also hates the First Amendment, Congress will have to step up next year to defend Americans’ rights.”
An EU politician also spoke out, with Rob Roos, Dutch MEP from the JA21 party, adding: “I was a negotiator on this DSA file and I opposed the final agreement.
“Too much power for Big Tech is dangerous. But too much power for government technocrats is just as bad.”
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After Mr Musk completed his takeover of Twitter, he fired Twitter Chief Executive Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal and legal affairs and policy chief Vijaya Gadde, according to people familiar with the matter.
He had accused them of misleading him and Twitter investors over the number of fake accounts on the platform.
Mr Agrawal and Mr Segal were in Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters when the deal closed and were escorted out, sources said.
Mr Musk also declared on Friday that he would be forming a new “content moderation council” that would bring together “diverse views” on the issue.
He said: “No major content decisions or account reinstatements will happen before the council convenes.”
European Parliament lawmaker and civil rights proponent Patrick Breyer also suggested people look for alternatives where privacy is a priority.
He added: “Twitter already knows our personalities dangerously well due to its pervasive surveillance of our every click.
“Now this knowledge will be falling into Musk’s hands.”