Business Maverick

Business Maverick

EU warns Twitter must bolster resources ahead of elections

EU warns Twitter must bolster resources ahead of elections
In this photo illustration, news about Elon Musk's bid to takeover Twitter is tweeted on 25 April 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo Illustration: Scott Olson / Getty Images)

Elon Musk’s Twitter needs to increase its resources if it wants to comply with new European regulations ahead of a deadline in August, according to Thierry Breton, the bloc’s internal market commissioner.

There are a few “critical” areas that Twitter needs to focus on immediately, especially around child abuse and controlling disinformation around elections, Breton said.

The commissioner is touring Silicon Valley to explain the EU’s upcoming requirements on content regulation and draft rules on artificial intelligence, meeting with execs at companies from Twitter to OpenAI and Meta Platforms Inc. On Thursday, an EU team conducted a stress test of Twitter’s compliance systems. While promising, Breton said there are certain areas Twitter needs to focus on in order to comply in just six weeks.

Twitter has until 25 August to implement the EU’s Digital Services Act, considered the world’s most stringent set of regulations in the policing of online content. Breton said after the meeting — with recently appointed Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino standing next to him — that from 26 August, “the bird will fly on its own”.

Twitter took the exercise “very seriously” and the conversation between EU officials and Twitter’s leadership was constructive, Breton said. Employees from Chicago, Los Angeles and Ireland flew in for the test. The EU’s DSA unit came to San Francisco as well to review data with the company in order to understand how prepared it is to comply with the rules.

The company is interested in using technology to handle disinformation and illegal content, but Breton warned that the technology has to be proven and ready in time: “They need to have enough resources to match the gap.”

Twitter said it is “on track” to be ready when the DSA comes into force, in a tweet from its global government affairs account. Separately, Yaccarino said “Europe is very important to Twitter.”

The stress test is being offered to all other platform companies that want to participate, the commissioner said. The commission will conduct another stress test with TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance Ltd., next month.

Twitter is the 1st platform to undergo a “stress test” to prepare for #DSA 🇪🇺

The company is taking this exercise very seriously.

Constructive dialogue in San Francisco🇺🇸 with @elonmusk & CEO @lindayacc ahead of the “real test” — on 25 August.

Sufficient resources will be key. pic.twitter.com/99uz5hqNUG

— Thierry Breton (@ThierryBreton) June 22, 2023

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