Maltese MEP Alex Agius Saliba has described Elon Musk’s multi-billion acquisition of Twitter as “shocking” and warned the business magnate that he will still have to abide by new EU rules regulating social media platforms.
After Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion, Lovin Malta sought the opinion of Agius Saliba, who is the vice-president for digital-related issues of the S&D European political group.
And the MEP didn’t mince his words.
“Elon Musk did not like the way Twitter was run… so he just bought it!” Agius Saliba said. “$44 billion is not what you call a bargain, but it seems nothing is too expensive for the richest man on earth.
Musk says he wants to ‘unlock the potential’ of the platform, including by lifting content restrictions that he thinks are limiting free speech and democracy.”
Today we are living in a world where the super rich can buyout platforms to change their rules to their liking. @elonmusk #Twitter buyout doesn’t mean Twitter could do away with respecting EU rules or ending up as a hotspot for #misinformation and #hatespeech @TheProgressives
— Alex Agius Saliba (@alexagiussaliba) April 26, 2022
“Rather hypocritical coming from someone who regularly silences his critics and threatens his workers.”
He said that Musk will still have to respect the law, which in the EU will mean following the Digital Service Act (DSA), an upcoming piece of legislation to regulate social media platforms.
Social media platforms will have an obligation to remove illegal content more quickly, explain their algorithms more transparently, and clamp down on disinformation.
“In Europe, Twitter will have to abide by the rules of the DSA which require social media companies to remove hate speech and fight disinformation on their platforms,” said Agius Saliba, who was lead rapporteur on this upcoming law at European Parliament level.
“There is no way around that!”
“It’s shocking enough that one individual can acquire a global service like Twitter on his own. We won’t let him turn it into an open forum for haters, trolls and plotters.”
Parallel to the DSA, the EU is also discussing the Digital Markets Act (DMA), an antitrust piece of legislation aimed at preventing tech giants from abusing their dominant market position. Agius Saliba was also lead rapporteur on this proposal.
In recent weeks, the European Parliament and the European Council reached a political agreement on both the DSA and the DMA, meaning the proposal is now only subject to formal approval by the two bodies.
This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
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