If the social media site is to avoid falling foul of major new governance rules for digital services which entered into force earlier this month, there will be a lot of work to be done by Mr. Musk.
The EU's Digital Services Act can result in fines of up to 6 percent of global annual turnover.
After getting his hands on the bird, Musk has fired the top team and made slashing the workforce a priority, with reports of 50% cuts early this month. He reversed the prior leadership's ban on former US president Donald Trump's account and suggested he'll implement a general amnesty for accounts previously suspended for violating its policies.
A number of senior compliance, security, privacy and trust and safety staffers have left the company in a short period of time. There has been a stream of users leaving other social media platforms to object to the direction Musk's taking the site and a resurgence in toxicity and abuse since he took over.
The EU assessment that Musk-owned Twitter has to comply with the DSA isn't rocket science.
Who’ll get the last laugh over Musk toying with Twitter’s veracity?
Putting out its read on the outcome of a meeting between Musk and the EU's internal market commissioner, who obtained a 'thumbs up' from the billionaire, back in May, was affirming that the EU is tenaciously interpreting.
The commissioner made a statement after the meeting.
“I welcome Elon Musk’s statements of intent to get Twitter 2.0 ready for the DSA. I am pleased to hear that he has read it carefully and considers it as a sensible approach to implement on a worldwide basis. But let’s also be clear that there is still huge work ahead, as Twitter will have to implement transparent user policies, significantly reinforce content moderation and protect freedom of speech, tackle disinformation with resolve, and limit targeted advertising. All of this requires sufficient AI and human resources, both in volumes and skills. I look forward to progress in all these areas and we will come to assess Twitter’s readiness on site.”
From February 17 next year, the DSA will apply for larger platforms, which face extra obligations including to assess and mitigate risks of their platforms under the regulation.
The European Commission requires larger platforms to be able to demonstrate compliance within a few months. The DSA will apply for other in-scope services in the early 20th century.
It's not clear if the micro-blogging site will be designated a VLOP. The EU's executive responded to reports of further layoffs, including the total shuttering of its Brussels office, with alarm, warning that "appropriateness of resources is one of the factors it will be taking into account as it determines which platforms are designated."
The company claims it remains committed to its existing policies, however it says its approach to policy enforcement will rely more heavily on de-amplification of violative content
It was revealed this week that the platform stopped enforcing its policy against misleading information about COVID-19 last week.
The Commission warned that measures to tackle disinformation will be an important component of achieving compliance with the DSA after the Commission described the abandonment of enforcement against misleading statements about COVID-19 as regrettable.
When an unchanged policy that is no longer being enforced is a drastic change of policy, it raises questions about what EU regulators will think of Musk's baldly disingenuous claims.
The question is if the EU will take a dim view of the obvious contradictions in the regulation and find a violation. Let the billionaire laugh as he ignores their rules.
In an interview yesterday at the Knight Foundation conference, the head of trust and safety at the company warned that the company is not safer under Musk. After a few weeks with Musk in charge, he decided to leave, saying that the company began straying from an adherence to written and publicly available policies. He said there was no need for him in his role, doing what he did, if he had to rule by policy.
The EU will have to make a decision about Musk.
Musk may be trying to troll the EU with empty claims of compliance at the same time as liquidating resources to achieve compliance. He seems to be trying to see what he can get away with.
The EU's read out of Breton's working meeting with Musk does call it constructive, but that might just be the EU poking Musk at this point.
The EU is going to test Musk and stress test his claims. He is getting special attention from the internet. Mark Zuckerberg must be counting his blessings over Musk's landing.
According to the Commission, this stress test will allow Twitter to target compliance even ahead of legal deadlines, and to prepare for an extensive independent audit.
It will be interesting to see if Musk will finally get serious about the regulators' increasingly shrill soundings.
If the latter is true, Musk's final bill for owning the social network could be much more expensive.
Twitter says it’s no longer enforcing COVID-19 misleading information policy
Elon Musk tells Europe Twitter will comply with bloc’s illegal speech rules