Elon Musk says his Twitter plans align with EU’s new social-media rules
Elon Musk said his plans for Twitter Inc. are aligned with new European Union rules aimed at compelling social-media companies to do more to police illegal content, after his initial vision for the platform raised concerns among regulators in Europe.
Mr. Musk made the comments in a video posted Monday to the Twitter account of Europe’s commissioner for the internal market, Thierry Breton. Mr. Breton met Mr. Musk during a visit to Austin, Texas, where the two discussed the EU’s new Digital Services Act, or DSA, which lawmakers agreed to last month.
“I think we’re very much of the same mind,” Mr. Musk said in the video, in which he is standing with Mr. Breton. “Anything that my companies can do that would be beneficial to Europe, we want to do that.”
The new rules, which aren’t yet in effect, would require major social-media platforms to swiftly address illegal content and conduct regular risk assessments, among other measures, or face hefty fines.
Mr. Musk, the chief executive of Austin-based Tesla Inc. whose $44 billion bid to buy Twitter was accepted last month, has previously said that he views the company as an important platform for free speech, leading to speculation that he intends to relax Twitter’s content moderation rules. Mr. Musk has said Twitter should be more cautious about removing content and permanently banning users, but hasn’t given precise details on how the company’s policies could change.
Twitter declined to comment. Mr. Musk didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. He wrote on Twitter on Monday that his preference is “to hew close to the laws of countries” in which the company operates. “If the citizens want something banned, then pass a law to do so, otherwise it should be allowed.”
The exchange with Mr. Breton came two weeks after the EU official cautioned on social media and in interviews that a Twitter under Mr. Musk’s ownership would need to comply with the bloc’s new rules. “They can do whatever they want outside of Europe,” Mr. Breton said at the time. “But in Europe they will just have to fulfill rules and obligations which are very clear now.”
In the video Monday, Mr. Breton said he was “happy to be able to explain” the DSA to Mr. Musk. He said he thinks Mr. Musk understands the new rules well.
After Mr. Breton posted the video to Twitter, Mr. Musk responded, saying: “Great meeting! We are very much on the same page.”
Mr. Musk, at times, has had an adversarial relationship with U.S. regulators. For instance, he has criticized the Securities and Exchange Commission and has been seeking to overturn a settlement he agreed with the SEC in 2018. Mr. Musk also has made fun of the Federal Aviation Administration after it criticized Space Exploration Technologies Corp., the space launch company known as SpaceX that he runs, for launching a rocket without all the required paperwork.
In China, where Tesla has a large car factory, he has struck a more conciliatory tone. Tesla issued a humbling apology last year after a driver at an auto show publicly blamed Tesla brakes for an accident, after which China’s top legal-affairs agency chimed in, calling the company arrogant.
—Rebecca Elliott and Meghan Bobrowsky contributed to this article.
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