France’s Digital Minister says he’s ready to ‘ban’ Twitter

France’s Digital Minister says he’s ready to ‘ban’ Twitter

Jean-Noël Barrot threatened to ban Twitter from the EU if it doesn’t comply with the bloc’s new rules against disinformation.

Twitter “will be banned” from the European Union in the event of a breach of its rules, said French Minister for Digital Affairs Jean-Noël Barrot on Monday. The “rules” in this case refer to the EU’s new Digital Services Act (DSA). The piece of legislation will come into effect bloc-wide at the end of August.

“If Twitter does not comply with our rules, then in the event of a repeat offense it will be banned from the European Union”, the minister told France Info.

It’s all about fighting “disinformation”

Since taking over the social network six months ago, billionaire Elon Musk has relaxed the moderation of “problematic” content, the EU says.

Barrot’s warning comes after Twitter decided last week to leave the EU’s voluntary code of practice against online disinformation. That move prompted Thierry Breton, the European Commission’s Lead on the DSA, to admonish Musk in a Tweet. He stated: “You can run but you can’t hide”.

One of the “gravest threats”

The current code imposes obligations on platforms like Twitter when it comes to tracking political advertising, clamping down on disinformation, and encouraging wider access and participation to outsiders.

Many tech firms, including major social media platforms, already support the code. It encompasses some of the measures that will become mandatory under the incoming Digital Services Act. Like other such industry regulations, the EU will punish violators with fines worth up to 6 percent of a company’s annual revenue.

An “era of responsibility” for big tech

Policing online content to remove disinformation will be a European legal obligation by the end of the summer. “I hope that Twitter can comply by August 25 with the new European rules that we have adopted, otherwise it will no longer be welcome in Europe”, threatened Barrot.

“We are going to bring them into the era of responsibility with obligations of moderation, but also with an imperative obligation: that of actively fighting against disinformation”, he continued.

“Disinformation is one of the gravest threats weighing on our democracies”.