EU warns Elon Musk that Twitter must stick to digital rules – business live | Business

Twitter shares dip in early trading

Shares in Twitter have dipped in early trading, away from Elon Musk’s deal price of $ 54.20.

Twitter shares are down 1.8% at $ 50.74, having yesterday jumped over 5.5% as news broke that Twitter was accepting Musk’s offer.

As flagged earlier, the gap between the stock price and Musk’s offer may reflect some risk that the deal doesn’t complete.

Tech shares are under pressure generally, though, with the Nasdaq Composite down 2% as investors brace for results from Big Tech firms such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet this week (including Alphabet after the market close).

What did day one Twitter holders make if they sold shares to Elon Musk at his $54.20 bid price?

They would've made $9.10 a share… a modest return https://t.co/KyqJbLcLRo pic.twitter.com/YlAKDYJzvf

— Bloomberg TV (@BloombergTV) April 26, 2022

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Dan Milmo

Could Donald Trump, Katie Hopkins, David Icke and Alex Jones all be welcomed back to Twitter once Musk has taken control?

These are just some of the Twitter accounts that could be reinstated if the platform’s new owner-in-waiting, “free speech absolutist” Elon Musk, practices what he preaches, our global technology editor Dan Milmo writes.

All of those accounts have been permanently suspended from the platform for infractions that include, most notoriously, the former US president’s alleged support for the Capitol riot on 6 January last year. Their reinstatement now appears to be back in play given that the world’s richest man has agreed a $ 44bn (£ 35bn) takeover of the platform that banned them and has stated that “free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy”.

Trump said on Monday he has no intention of rejoining Twitter and is sticking with his rival TRUTH Social network, but Musk may give him an opportunity to recover his more than 88 million followers.

Speaking at a TED conference this month, Musk said he was “very cautious with permanent bans” and would prefer a timeout system for account holders who break Twitter’s conduct guidelines. Given that Hopkins, a British rightwing commentator, was permanently suspended for breaching the site’s “hateful conduct” policy, her readmission would immediately read the stringency of rules in place to prevent threats against people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease ”.

Here’s the full story:

EU warns Elon Musk that Twitter must stick to digital rules

Brussels has warned Elon Musk that Twitter must comply with the EU’s new digital rules under its ownership.

EU’s commissioner for the internal market, Thierry Breton, says Elon Musk knows well that companies operating in Europe must stick to its rules, including the Digital Services Act which will force major technology firms to tackle illegal and harmful content online.

Failure to comply with the DSA, agreed last weekend, could mean a fine, or even a ban – a sign that we could see a global regulatory battle over Twitter’s future.

Be it cars or social media, any company operating in Europe needs to comply with our rules – regardless of their shareholding.

Mr Musk knows this well.

He is familiar with European rules on automotive, and will quickly adapt to the Digital Services Act.#DSA

— Thierry Breton (@ThierryBreton) April 26, 2022

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Be it cars or social media, any company operating in Europe needs to comply with our rules – regardless of their shareholding.

Mr Musk knows this well.

He is familiar with European rules on automotive, and will quickly adapt to the Digital Services Act.#DSA

– Thierry Breton (@ThierryBreton) April 26, 2022

European Commission spokesperson Johannes Bahrke has echoed this point at a news briefing:

“Our Digital Services Act applies to all major platforms, to ensure their power over public debate is subject to democratically validated rules to better protect fundamental rights online,”

The DSA is expected to come into force in 2024, and includes:

  • Banning advertising aimed at children or based on sensitive data such as religion, gender, race and political opinions.
  • Allowing EU governments to request the removal of illegal content, including material that promotes terrorism, child sexual abuse, hate speech and commercial scams.
  • Forcing social media platforms to allow users to flag illegal content in an “easy and effective way” so that it can be swiftly removed.

A company failing to comply could be fined up to 6% of its global turnover, or be banned from operating in the EU for repeated breaching the rules. Twitter posted annual revenues of $ 5bn last year, meaning it could be fined around $ 300m.

Breton has also told the Financial Times that Elon Musk must follow rules on moderating illegal and harmful content online.

Breton said he wanted to offer a “reality check” to Musk’s plans for less stringent moderation, saying:

“We welcome everyone. We are open but on our conditions. At least we know what to tell him: ‘Elon, there are rules. You are welcome but these are our rules. It’s not your rules which will apply here. ‘”

EU warns Elon Musk over Twitter moderation plans https://t.co/mLli4nqZtH

— Financial Times (@FT) April 26, 2022

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Responding to the news of Elon Musk’s deal, Downing Street said that “regardless of ownership, all social media platforms must be responsible”, PA Media reports.

“That includes protecting users from harm on their sites,” the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said.

“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.”

It was “entirely a matter for Twitter” whether former US President Donald Trump’s account was reactivated, the spokesman added.

Elon Musk’s career:

2022: buys Twitter

2016: starts Boring Co.

2016: co-founds Neuralink

2015: co-founds OpenAI

2004: invests in Tesla

2002: starts SpaceX

2002: eBay buys PayPal

1999: starts https://t.co/sbM2XvlH5r (later PayPal)

1999: Compaq buys Zip2

1995: starts Zip2 pic.twitter.com/FY9yTkWrqI

— Jon Erlichman (@JonErlichman) April 26, 2022

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Elon Musk’s career:

2022: Twitter buys

2016: starts Boring Co.

2016: co-founds Neuralink

2015: co-founds OpenAI

2004: investments in Tesla

2002: starts SpaceX

2002: eBay buys PayPal

1999: starts https://t.co/sbM2XvlH5r (later PayPal)

1999: Compaq buys Zip2

1995: Zip2 starts pic.twitter.com/FY9yTkWrqI

– Jon Erlichman (@JonErlichman) April 26, 2022

Andy Burrowsthe head of child safety online policy at children’s charity the NSPCC said urgent clarity was needed over what approach a Musk-led Twitter would take to tackling online abuse.

Burrows says ‘proper regulatory guardrails’ are needed, with appropriate checks and balances to ensure platforms tackle illegal behavior:

There’s a huge difference in outcomes between a platform that tackles online sexual abuse vs meeting basic legal requirements.

It’s too early to draw conclusions but the headwinds point to a chilling effect. Proper regulatory guardrails have never felt more important.

— Andy Burrows (@_andyburrows) April 26, 2022

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There’s a huge difference in outcomes between a platform that tackles online sexual abuse vs meeting basic legal requirements.

It’s too early to draw conclusions but the headwinds point to a chilling effect. Proper regulatory guardrails have never felt more important.

– Andy Burrows (@_andyburrows) April 26, 2022

The tension between libertarian POVs & tackling illegal behaviour isn’t new, but is pressing.

Would @Twitter still scan for child abuse in DMs? If the #OnlineSafetyBill prevents @ofcom from proactively requiring it, where are we?

Then there’s decentralised models, breadcrumbing

— Andy Burrows (@_andyburrows) April 26, 2022

n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/_andyburrows/status/1518901353493540864″,”id”:”1518901353493540864″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”c47e36d3-30b3-48a0-bcbc-ecd1194f1c5f”}}”>

The tension between libertarian POVs & tackling illegal behavior is not new, but is pressing.

Would @Twitter still scan for child abuse in DMs? If the #OnlineSafetyBill prevents @ofcom from proactively requiring it, where are we?

Then there’s decentralized models, breadcrumbing

– Andy Burrows (@_andyburrows) April 26, 2022

In short, we urgently need to build proper systems that offer appropriate checks and balances.

All the attention is going to be directed at the kremlinology in mid-Market SF, but stopping a soap opera becoming a car crash is now an urgent challenge for Westminster and Brussels

— Andy Burrows (@_andyburrows) April 26, 2022

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In short, we urgently need to build proper systems that offer appropriate checks and balances.

All the attention is going to be directed at the kremlinology in mid-Market SF, but stopping a soap opera becoming a car crash is now an urgent challenge for Westminster and Brussels

– Andy Burrows (@_andyburrows) April 26, 2022

Full story: Jack Dorsey says Elon Musk is ‘solution I trust’

Mark Sweney

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has backed Elon Musk’s controversial $ 44bn (£ 34bn) takeover of the micro-blogging platform, describing the billionaire as “the singular solution I trust”.

The 45-year-old, who co-founded the company in 2006 and floated it on the New York Stock Exchange in 2013, said it has been “owned” by Wall Street and that Musk’s deal struck on Monday to take it private was the “Correct first step”.

However Dorsey, who stepped down as Twitter chief executive in November and will receive a $ 978m payout for his 2.4% stake when the deal is completed later this year, said that ultimately “in principle I don’t believe anyone should own or run Twitter ”.

“It wants to be a public good at a protocol level, not a company,” he said, in a series of tweets.

“Solving for the problem of it being a company however, Elon is the singular solution I trust. I trust his mission to extend the light of consciousness. ”

Parag Agrawal, who took over from Dorsey as chief executive, has told staff that their jobs are only safe for about six months it will take to get the deal done.

“Once the deal closes, we don’t know which direction the platform will go,” said Agrawal, who is in line for a $ 38.7m pay package due to a “change of control” clause in his contract.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has warned this morning that ‘free speech cannot mean a free pass for hatred’ – a sharp reminder of the importance of moderating online communities.

Free speech cannot mean a free pass for hatred.

We must not forget the impacts of online hate speech, which fans the flames of prejudice and leads to appalling and tragic real-world violence.

Social media companies must do more, not less, to protect their communities.

— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) April 26, 2022

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Free speech cannot mean a free pass for hatred.

We must not forget the impacts of online hate speech, which fans the flames of prejudice and leads to appalling and tragic real-world violence.

Social media companies must do more, not less, to protect their communities.

– Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) April 26, 2022

AJ Bell’s Russ Mold also has a neat Wilde analogy for the Twitter deal:

“It isn’t a case of the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable, as Oscar Wilde once described fox-hunting, but Elon Musk’s campaign to buy Twitter could be seen as the unpredictable chasing down the unprofitable.

Best description of Elon Musk buying Twitter I've seen so far:

The unpredictable in full pursuit of the unprofitable.

(NB: Does that make it A Deal of No Importance?)

— Ben Wright (@_BenWright_) April 26, 2022

n”,”url”:”https://twitter.com/_BenWright_/status/1518893760863772672″,”id”:”1518893760863772672″,”hasMedia”:false,”role”:”inline”,”isThirdPartyTracking”:false,”source”:”Twitter”,”elementId”:”3038e1da-f7d4-4751-b233-dc390f836230″}}”>

Best description of Elon Musk buying Twitter I’ve seen so far:

The unpredictable in full pursuit of the unprofitable.

(NB: Does that make it A Deal of No Importance?)

– Ben Wright (@_BenWright_) April 26, 2022

Twitter made a loss of $ 221m last year, dragged into the red by a litigation charge.

Mold adds:

“A price tag of $ 44 billion compares to forecast net profit of just $ 112m in 2023 and $ 324m for 2023, equivalent to a price / earnings ratio of well over 100 – a huge premium relative to a US equity market which trades on forward multiples of earnings in the mid-20s (and mid-30s, according to Professor Robert Shiller’s cyclically adjusted price earnings, or CAPE, ratio).

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