Twitter evades EU code of conduct; harbinger of departure ?

The social media platform Twitter, owned by US billionaire Elon Musk, is withdrawing from the European Union's voluntary code of conduct against disinformation on the internet. This has been announced by European Commissioner Thierry Breton. 

The European Union has had a Code of Practice against disinformation since 2018, which was tightened in 2022. In fact, it is a voluntary code of conduct for major internet platforms, such as Facebook, Google and the like. From the end of August, the major platforms and search engines must comply with the requirements and obligations of the new European Digital Services Act (DSA).

With this, the EU wants the administrators of internet systems to take action against hate speech, propaganda and anonymous threats, among other things. The rules of conduct were tightened last year because of the Russian language of war against Ukraine. The new code will also apply to Twitter, which will then be directly supervised by the European Commission.

Earlier this year, the European Commission criticized Twitter for being the only signatory to submit an incomplete activity report and providing scant information on how it intends to counter the influence of foreign actors and tackle disinformation. As a result of the EU rules, Facebook has already started deleting accounts that are averse to religious and political smearing.

“Apart from voluntary commitments, fighting disinformation will be a legal obligation from August 25. The DSA regulation should better protect internet users against harmful content, advertising and privacy violations. The legislation makes it easier to deal with companies that put child pornography, inflammatory and hateful content or disinformation on the internet. 

The European information service Euractiv reported that the EU is a somewhat secondary market for Twitter and that it is “increasingly likely that Twitter will choose not to comply with DSA rules and pull out of Europe altogether. Therefore, canceling the voluntary code of practice may be the first formal step in Twitter's departure from Europe.