French Digital Minister Jean-Noël Barrot got into a growing fracas between the European Union and Elon Musk’s Twitter on Monday, threatening the social media platform’s access to the blockade.
In the comments made on the radio network Info Francethe minister said the US company would be banned from the EU if it refused to follow up on the arrival European Digital Services Actwhich will come into force across the EU at the end of August.
« Disinformation is one of the gravest threats facing our democracies, » said Barrot. « Twitter, if it repeatedly doesn’t follow our rules, will be banned from the EU, » added the French minister.
The remarks mark an escalation of an ongoing fight between European politicians and Twitter, which was bought last year by Elon Musk, the controversial billionaire who also controls Tesla and SpaceX.
Last week, POLITICO reported that the social media platform was withdrawing from the EU’s voluntary disinformation code of conduct.
The code sets out obligations for large digital platforms around monitoring political advertising, cracking down on disinformation, and encouraging wider access and participation by outsiders. Other major social media platforms have pledged to support the regulation, which is intended to pre-empt some of the measures that will become mandatory under the new Digital Services Act. The regulation provides for fines of up to 6% of a company’s annual turnover for those who break the rules.
Internal Markets Commissioner Thierry Breton tweeted « You can run but you can’t hide » in response to Twitter’s decision to withdraw from the code.