LONDON (AP) – Elon Musk has said he will reverse Twitter’s permanent ban on former President Donald Trump if the Tesla CEO goes through with his plan to buy the social media company.
Speaking virtually at a Future of the Car summit hosted by the Financial Times, Musk said Twitter’s Trump ban was a “morally bad decision” and “extremely stupid.” He said permanent Twitter account bans should be rare and reserved for accounts that are scams or automated bots.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
LONDON (AP) – Elon Musk, who offers Twitter for sale, has pledged his support for a new European Union law to protect social media users from harmful content after meeting the bloc’s internal market chief.
EU Internal Markets Commissioner Thierry Breton told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he had set out to Musk how the bloc’s online rules aim to uphold freedom of expression while ensuring anything illegal “is banned in the digital space.” , to which Musk “completely agreed.”
In a video Breton tweeted late Monday, Musk said the two had a “great discussion” and that he agrees with the Digital Services Act, which is expected to receive final approval later this year. It will push big tech companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook parent Meta to monitor their platforms more closely for illegal or harmful content like hate speech and disinformation, or face billions of dollars in fines.
Musk’s plan to buy Twitter for $44 billion has sparked fears he would make changes to the platform that would prioritize free speech over online safety – potentially putting him at odds with looming rules in Europe that have prompted a global movement to crack down on Twitter’s power of the tech giants.
The 65-second clip shows that Musk and the EU’s views may be closer than meets the eye. Breton says in the video that he explained the Digital Services Act to Musk at a meeting at Tesla headquarters in Texas. Musk responds by saying it “aligns exactly with my way of thinking.”
“I really agree with everything you said,” Musk said. “I think we’re very much in agreement, and you know, I think anything that my companies can do that can be beneficial for Europe, that’s what we want to do.”
The attempted Twitter acquisition by Musk, a billionaire and self-proclaimed free speech absolutist, had raised concerns that he would take a hands-off approach to moderating content.
Breton told the AP he explained to Musk that the new law means “we also need to have more moderators, and in the language that we’re operating in.” So he totally got it.”
The pair agreed on the importance of being able to study algorithms that determine what social media users see, Breton said.
The Digital Services Act calls for more transparency on algorithms, and Musk has called for them to be made available to the public.
Another topic of discussion was President Donald Trump’s ban from Twitter for inciting violence in the US Capitol riot, which Musk reportedly opposed.
Breton said he told Musk that EU law contains provisions to protect users’ rights, such as giving them the right to challenge bans.
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