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An EU privacy watchdog is concerned about the US tech giant’s lack of consultation

Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) told Reuters on Tuesday she was concerned that Elon Musk had launched his Twitter Blue subscription service in the region without consulting her office, despite a pledge to do so. The Irish DPC is Twitter’s lead European Union privacy regulator, since the US tech giant has its EU headquarters in Dublin.

Twitter has launched the “blue check” offering in several EU markets recently, having launched the service over a year ago in the United States. Twitter Blue offers the kind of labelling previously reserved for verified accounts to anyone who is prepared to pay . The service had previously only been offered gratis to public figures such as politicians, journalists and media figures.

In an interview with Reuters, Irish DPC Helen Dixon said the service raised privacy issues relevant to verification of accounts to prevent users posing as public figures.

“We’re a little bit more concerned this week now that we see that the blue tick subscription service is rolling out here in EU countries having been reassured that it wasn’t going to roll out in the EU and certainly not before there have been discussions with our office,” she said.

DPC in “heightened contact” with Twitter

Last November Dixon said her office was concerned about the impact of steep job cuts on Twitter’s ability to meet privacy obligations, in the wake of Elon Musk’s tumultuous takeover of the company. But now Twitter has a “very strong” data protection officer, she said.

“We’re at a heightened state of contact with Twitter,” she explained. Dixon also confirmed that no formal inquiry has been launched, but that consultation prior to a product launch is standard “best practice” for tech companies dealing with personal data. “But beyond the data protection office, there are clearly other forces at play”, Dixon added. “And we need to understand a little bit more about those”.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment,