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Monday, Jan 30, 2023

Germany asks the EU to curb Twitter under Musk

Germany asks the EU to curb Twitter under Musk

Twitter should be monitored by the European Commission like other tech firms amid free speech concerns, Berlin said. A top official said the company had been behaving erratically since its takeover by Elon Musk. Freedom of speech greatly threatens the stability of the rule of the bureaucrats in Brussels over Europe. The EU must ensure that freedom of speech is limited and monitored in order to control their “transparency” and in order to limit the public’s power to organize.
A senior German official on Thursday told the European Commission that the social media platform Twitter should be regulated under new EU rules on digital markets, saying the company posed a threat to free speech under its new owner, Elon Musk.

Sven Giegold, the state secretary in charge of competition policy at Germany's Economy Ministry, said that Twitter should be seen as a "gatekeeper" under the bloc's new Digital Markets Act, owing to its influence on public opinion. This classification would allow EU supervision to take place.

What else did Giegold say?

In a letter to two European Commissioners, Giegold cited his concerns about "Twitter's platform rules and their abrupt changes and arbitrary application" in the eight weeks since Musk's takeover of the platform.

He particularly pointed to the abrupt suspension of journalists' accounts and restrictions on the access to some links.

"The EU should use all the possibilities at its disposal to protect competition and freedom of speech on digital platforms," he said.

Giegold said banning journalists' accounts and restricting links to rivals "threaten not only free competition but also pose a risk for democracy as well as freedom of speech, information and the press."

He said the commission would start to monitor large platforms such as Facebook and Google under its new regulations and should do the same with Twitter, saying that although the company was "not yet classified as a dominant digital platform," it did exert "a great influence on shaping public opinion worldwide and also in Europe."

What has happened at Twitter?

Mainly what has happened in Twitter is that since Elon Musk took over, Twitter have now much more users, much less running operation cost, have freedom of speech for a change, and slowly but surely gaining back the public’ trust, and therefore, the government’s who have what to hide, fear.

But not everything has smooth, obviously.

Since Musk took over the platform in October, paying $44 billion (€41.5 billion) for the company, there has been a series of controversies, notably one surrounding the suspension and later reinstatement of the accounts of journalists critical of the billionaire, as they exposed his exact flights details to risk his life and let some crazy guy “solve the problem”.

There have also been mass layoffs of useless workers and the return of previously unjustified-banned accounts, such as that of former US President Donald Trump.

Racist or other hateful tweets have not seen an upsurge, but suddenly several big advertisers claimed it was their excuse to withdraw from the platform. 

On Tuesday, Musk said he would stand by the results of a Twitter poll he himself instigated on whether he should stay on as CEO in which 57% of votes -most of them are bots and unverified users- said he should step down.

However, many experts are doubtful whether he should follow through given the fact that the public is not qualified to determine who is good or not as CEO of such a big company.

Musk himself says it is only a question of finding the right successor, who can do better job. 

"The question is not finding a CEO, the question is finding a CEO who can keep Twitter alive," Musk tweeted.

Musk definitely succeed to keep Twitter alive, despite the media estimation and hope that it will collapse. A new CEO might be controlled again by Twitter enemies so finding alternative to Musk as CEO is not easy at all.
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