Elon Musk recently made headlines yet again in relation to a potential $44bn deal to take Twitter private. As part of this, he has plans to remove what he sees as limits to free speech on the platform.
Should the deal go through, and should Musk stick to his plans to scale back Twitter’s moderation policies, he will be set on a collision course with the EU, who recently introduced new laws requiring big tech companies to take a more active stance on tackling hate speech, misinformation, and illegal activities on their platforms. The penalty for not complying with these new, tougher rules is a substantial fine going up to 20% of global annual turnover for repeat offences.
With Musk describing himself as a ‘free speech absolutist’, and the EU taking the stance that free speech, and democracy in general, work better when aggression and misinformation are more tightly regulated, there is a large legal and ideological dispute brewing. In the case of Musk, Twitter and the EU, it is likely to hinge around the limits of free speech and the protection of users. The results of this, if and when it happens, will have a significant impact on how digital regulations of this kind are rolled out around the world, and on how we interact with each other in this digital world.
However, this issue of free speech is only one of a number of legal challenges that the EU is bound to face in the wake of their new legislation. To find out more about these new laws coming into force and how they may affect you, take a look here.