EU threatens Twitter with sanctions for suspending journalists

The European Union has threatened to impose sanctions on Twitter following the suspension of several journalists from established media for allegedly sharing the private location of Elon Musk’s jet.

On Thursday night, Twitter suspended reporters from CNN, Mashable, New York Times, Washington PostVox and former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann for alleged violations of the platform’s updated terms of service on doxxing, or disclosing private details such as internet location or address.

“Any account doxxing anyone’s real-time location information will be suspended, as it is a breach of physical security,” Musk said. tweeted Wednesday. “This includes posting links to sites with real-time location information. Showing places someone has been with a slight delay is not a security concern, so that’s fine.

The suspensions would have surrounded the liaison with a tracker from Musk’s private jet. While many claimed it was publicly available information, Twitter’s new boss said that “my aircraft is actually not traceable without using non-public data”.

The tracker was created by American programmer Jack Sweeney, who admitted that while Musk had used a privacy ICAO address (PIA) to protect the identities of people using private planes, he said his software was still able to identify the plane.

In response to the decision to suspend journalists who shared the information, European Commissioner Vera Jourova said that Twitter could face penalties under the bloc’s new Digital Services Act (DSA) for allegedly failing to protect media freedom.

“[The] The EU Digital Services Act requires respect for media freedom and fundamental rights. This is reinforced by our Media Freedom Act,” she wrote on Twitter.

“Elon Musk should be aware of this. There are red lines. And sanctions, soon,” the EU commissioner said, adding that “reports of arbitrary suspensions of journalists on Twitter are concerning.”

The EU’s warnings apparently contradict the bloc’s typically censored attitude. The Digital Services Act (DSA) which came into effect last month significantly expands Brussels’ ability to control so-called “hate speech” and “disinformation” by adding sanction mechanisms against Internet platforms that do not follow the rules of the bloc.

If companies like Twitter fail to comply with the DSA by February 2024, the EU can impose fines of up to 6% of their global revenue and even possibly ban the platform altogether, a threat it has already made against Twitter. following Musk’s takeover.

While the EU reacted with outrage to the temporary suspensions of establishment media journalists, that was not the case after Donald Trump’s permanent ban.

Days after Twitter took the unprecedented step of banning the incumbent President of the United States — a move that came despite Twitter internally acknowledging that his posts did not violate their terms of service — European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton said Twitter and other tech companies that have banned Trump “recognize their responsibility, duty and means to prevent the spread of illegal viral content.”

Mr Breton, who spearheaded the passage of the Digital Services Act, has been at the forefront of demands for Elon Musk since the takeover to continue to control hate speech and misinformation on the platform, claiming that: “In Europe, the bird will fly by our rules.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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