Elon Musk has been told that he faces fines of hundreds of millions of pounds unless Twitter cracks down on hate speech, harassment and misinformation on his watch.
Musk had a £34.5 million bid for Twitter accepted yesterday. He has said that he will prioritise free speech on the platform.
According to The Times:
His comments have led to concerns that Twitter could reduce the role of moderators and seek confrontation with regulators that are cracking down on harmful content on social media platforms.
The Online Safety Bill proposes that social media companies must set out how they will deal with harmful material. They would face fines in Britain unless they had proper processes in place.
The EU has said Twitter will face fines of up to 6 per cent of revenue if it does “not comply with our law”.
Downing Street said: “Regardless of ownership, all social media platforms must be responsible. That includes protecting users from harm.
“It is too early to say what — if any — changes will be made to how Twitter operates. It remains an important tool — it’s used by world leaders — and we will continue to work with them to make sure it continues to improve.”
Government sources added that they did not think Musk’s ownership would necessarily put Twitter on a “collision course” with the bill.
They said the company would need to set out clearly its policies on harmful content and could be fined if it failed to enforce them.
Damian Collins, chairman of the joint committee scrutinising the draft bill, said Musk must keep his pledge to “defeat the spam bots” and combat hatred and abuse on the site.
“Elon Musk calls Twitter the digital town square, but it has become a place where free speech is drowned out by co-ordinated armies of bot accounts spreading disinformation and division,” he said.
It will be business as usual when Musk takes the reins at Twitter. Users who attempt to share vital information that is being supressed by the legacy media will be shadow banned or have their accounts deleted.
The beat will go on.