The European Union (EU) has threatened new Twitter CEO Elon Musk with the possibility of banning the platform throughout large parts of Europe. This comes after Musk’s decision to consider removing the bans placed on accounts for arbitrary or political reasons. The bans in years past would have likely remained on the platform due to the widespread view that these accounts are protected under the First Amendment, however, following a change in the political climate of the United States after former President Donald Trump took office, many right-wing Twitter users have been on thin ice.
On Nov. 23, Musk Tweeted a poll asking if “Twitter offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam?” The poll would go on to show that Twitter users are in favor of Twitter’s free speech policies, and oppose political censorship on the platform by a margin of 72.4% to 27.6%, with over 3 million Twitter users responding to Musk’s poll.
Should Twitter offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 23, 2022
There are many questions surrounding the accounts that would potentially be un-banned from the social media platform. Twitter users have been suggesting that many users should be un-banned, including but not limited to Alex Jones, Nicholas J. Fuentes, and other notable political figures who haven’t committed any crimes.
The EU is standing strongly against Musk in their belief that censorship should remain on the platform. While the previously mentioned political figures have not committed any violent crimes, the EU still expresses that they are dangerous due to the ideology they hold. Along with silencing political figures, the EU also believes that Musk was wrong to remove COVID-19 misinformation policies, even though the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic was over two years ago.
European Commission’s vice president for values and transparency, Věra Jourová, told POLITICO, she expected Twitter to “fully respect the EU law and honor its commitments” under a Code of Practice on Disinformation, first signed in 2018 and updated this year — including devoting resources and report results on fake news. “Twitter has been a very useful partner in the fight against disinformation and illegal hate speech and this must not change,” she said.
The EU’s attempt to control Twitter is hypocritical in the eyes of many. Many on the left as a whole argued that censorship on the platform is not only a good thing, but it’s also their right to do so because Twitter is a private company, and not held to the standards of the constitution. During the times of widespread censorship, including the sitting President of the United States of America, the U.S. government stayed silent and was complicit with Twitter’s decision because it benefitted them.
Elizabeth Warren commented on the current state of Twitter under the leadership of Musk saying, “One human being should not be able to go into a dark room by himself and decide ‘Oh, that person gets heard from, that person doesn’t.’ That’s not how it should work.”
Along with Elizabeth Warren, Democrats on the social media platform have been parading the EU’s decision to moderate an American private company’s policies as a victory:
BREAKING: The European Union drops the hammer on Elon Musk and warns him that Twitter will be banned unless it starts adhering to stricter content moderation rules — a move that comes as the website is flooded with Nazis and COVID-19 misinfo. RT TO THANK THE EU FOR STANDING UP!
— Occupy Democrats (@OccupyDemocrats) November 30, 2022
The EU, which just so happens to contain the largest consumer base of twitter, has strict regulations re: hate speech and disinformation. That you fail to grasp this or the meaning of free speech in our constitution shows how fundamentally unfit you are to serve in government. pic.twitter.com/OYt7aCo4n3
— Andrew Wortman (@AmoneyResists) November 30, 2022