European Union threatens sanctions over Twitter’s ban of journalists


Elon Musk’s choice to out of the blue ban distinguished tech journalists from Twitter is fanning a fierce backlash in Europe.

Germany warned of the affect on press freedom, whereas a senior EU official mentioned Twitter should adjust to the bloc’s guidelines or face potential sanctions.

“Freedom of the press cannot be switched on and off as you please,” Germany’s international ministry tweeted on Friday. “As of today these journalists are no longer able to follow us, to comment or criticize. We have a problem with that @Twitter.”

Věra Jourová, the European Fee’s vice chairman for values and transparency, mentioned the “arbitrary suspension” of journalists was “worrying,” and she or he indicated that the corporate may face penalties because of this.

“The EU’s Digital Services Act requires respect of media freedom and fundamental rights. This is reinforced under our #MediaFreedomAct,” Jourová mentioned in a post on Twitter, including that Musk “should be aware of that.”

“There are red lines,” she continued. “And sanctions, soon.”

On Thursday night, Twitter banned the accounts of a number of high-profile journalists from prime information organizations with out rationalization, together with CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan, The New York Instances’ Ryan Mac and The Washington Publish’s Drew Harwell.

Neither Musk nor Twitter responded to a request for remark Thursday night, and the platform didn’t clarify exactly why the journalists have been barred from the platform.

Musk falsely claimed that the journalists had violated his new “doxxing” coverage by sharing his stay location, amounting to what he described as “assassination coordinates.” CNN’s O’Sullivan didn’t share the billionaire’s stay location.

Shortly earlier than his suspension, O’Sullivan reported on Twitter that the social media firm had suspended the account of an rising aggressive social media service, Mastodon, which has allowed the continued posting of @ElonJet, an account that posts the placement of Musk’s non-public jet.

Different reporters suspended Thursday had additionally just lately written concerning the account.

European leaders beforehand mentioned they have been watching how Musk’s takeover of Twitter would have an effect on the platform.

Thierry Breton, a prime EU official, warned Musk in late November that the social media platform should take important steps to adjust to the bloc’s content material moderation legal guidelines.

“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,” Breton mentioned on the time. “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.”

— Chris Liakos, Oliver Darcy, Eve Brennan and Nadine Schmidt contributed reporting.