Twitter is withdrawing from the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), an agreement to combat disinformation, which, despite being said to be voluntary, will become mandatory from August this year. The code aims to limit Big Tech’s power, but also allows for increased supranational information control.
EU Commissioner Thierry Breton announced Twitter’s rejection of the DSA, ironically also on Twitter, on Friday night:
Twitter leaves EU voluntary Code of Practice against disinformation.
But obligations remain. You can run but you can’t hide.
Beyond voluntary commitments, fighting disinformation will be legal obligation under #DSA as of August 25.
Our teams will be ready for enforcement.
— Thierry Breton (@ThierryBreton) May 26, 2023
Twitter leaves the EU code against disinformation. But the obligations remain. You can run, but you can’t hide, says Breton, who is commissioner for the internal market.
The EU Code includes obligations to monitor political advertising, stop monetization from disinformation and cooperate with fact-checkers.
Google, TikTok and Meta joined the codex in 2018. (NTB)
The Digital Services Act is made mandatory from 17 February 2024, and by that time all EU countries, presumably also Norway, must have established their own Digital Services Coordinator. The DSA allows for companies that do not comply with the EU’s instructions, and that also do not give the EU access to the company’s data, to be fined up to six percent of turnover.
The rules will be rolled out step by step, first applying to Big Tech platforms with more than 45 million EU users from the summer of 2023 onward, and affecting other digital companies from February 2024. All platforms have until February 17, 2023, to publicly release their number of users. Social media platforms, online marketplaces, porn sites, cloud-hosting services and website-naming companies all fall within the law’s scope. (Politico)
Politico also emailed Twitter for comment. The answer can be read here:
A spokesman for the commission said that since the practice was voluntary, it was up to individual companies to decide whether they wanted to participate. So far, the spokesperson added, Twitter has not complied with its obligations under the Code.
An email sent to Twitter for comment was returned with a poop emoji.
For those who do not understand what a poop emoji is, here is one of the kind:
Despite the need to regulate Big Tech’s power, this writer is not the only one who sees the contours of greater alignment and more controlled disinformation as a result of the introduction of this code.
Twitter and Elon Musk are expected to come up with a longer explanation of their decision next week.