X owner Elon Musk is considering making the social media platform unavailable within the European Union. The suggestion comes shortly after EU chief Thierry Breton told Musk to get rid of misinformation regarding the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Breton posted a message on X on Oct. 10 with an open letter to Musk, urging the platform’s owner to take “containment measures” against manipulated images and fake news whenever possible. Other Digital Services Act compliance issues would also be discussed with X later. An altercation with Musk followed.
The Digital Services Act forces Big Tech to strictly regulate content posted on a platform. Distributing harmful content and practices that target specific users are not allowed. If X (or any other platform) fails to comply with these regulations, it could be excluded from the European market or face a fine up to 6 percent of annual revenue.
Insider reported on Wednesday that Musk is considering taking X itself out of the EU. It would be a sharp hit to the userbase of the platform, which is already struggling with declining numbers in that area anyway.
Such a move, however drastic, would not be unthinkable. After all, Meta’s Threads is not (yet) available in the EU, possibly because of another law: the Digital Markets Act. In particular, mixing user data with Meta’s other platforms (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp) would be cause for concern.
An X departure from the EU is also a lot more realistic now that Musk is clearly experimenting with revenue models. Advertising revenue has been declining for some time (not just on X), so there may be more to be earned with a smaller, more loyal userbase.