Musk ‘aligned’ with EU digital rules

Elon Musk attends the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the exhibit ‘In America: An Anthology of Fashion’ on Monday, May 2, 2022 in New York City. Elon Musk, who is proposing to buy Twitter, has backed a new European Union law to protect social media users from harmful content after meeting the bloc’s single market chief. In a video tweeted Monday (May 9) by EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, Musk said the two men had a “great discussion” and that he agreed with the bloc’s online regulations.

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP File

LONDON (AP) — Elon Musk, who is offering to buy Twitter, has backed a new European Union law aimed at protecting social media users from harmful content after meeting with the bloc’s Single Market chief. .

EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he explained to Musk how the bloc’s online regulations aim to maintain free speech while ensuring that everything illegal “will be banned in the digital space”, which Musk “fully agreed with”. .”

In a Breton video tweeted Late Monday, Musk said the two men had a “great discussion” and that he was fine with the Digital Services Act, which is expected to get final approval later this year. platforms more strictly for illegal or harmful content like hate speech and misinformation or risk billions in fines.

Musk’s plan to buy Twitter for $44 billion has raised fears he will make changes to the platform that would prioritize free speech over online safety – potentially putting him in jeopardy. contradiction to looming rules in Europe, leading to a global movement to crack down on the power of tech giants.

The 65-second clip indicates that Musk’s and EU’s views may be closer than they appear. Breton says in the video that he explained the Digital Services Act to Musk during a meeting at Tesla headquarters in Texas. Musk responds by saying it’s “exactly aligned with my thinking.”

“I agree with everything you said, really,” Musk said. “I think we’re pretty much of the same mind and, you know, I think anything my companies can do that can benefit Europe, we want to do that.”

The attempted acquisition of Twitter by Musk, a billionaire and self-proclaimed free speech absolutist, had raised concerns that he was taking a hands-off approach to content moderation.

Breton told AP he explained to Musk that the new law means “we also need to have more moderators, and in the language in which we operate. So he got it.”

The pair agreed on the importance of being able to inspect the algorithms that determine what social media users are shown, Breton said.

The Digital Services Act requires more transparency for algorithms, and Musk has called for opening them up to public inspection.

Another topic of discussion was President Donald Trump’s ban on Twitter for inciting violence during the United States Capitol uprising, which Musk reportedly opposed.

Breton said he told Musk that EU law includes provisions to maintain users’ rights, such as giving them the right to appeal bans.

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