March 27, 2023

The headquarters represented a link between the platform and the European institutions which are now concerned about compliance with the new rules on digital services and the dismissal of a large part of the staff. “To act on disinformation – say from the EU – resources are needed”

Twitter has decided to close its European headquarters in Brussels. Six of the team’s employees have left their posts following an emailed ultimatum from the new CEO, Elon Musk, calling on staff to engage in a “hard work culture”. The Tesla owner is also carrying out a plan to cut 7,500 jobs. As reported by the Financial Times , Julia Mozer and Dario La Nasa, heads of digital policy of Twitter at the European level, left the company last week. The Brussels office represented a fundamental political connection with the European institutions and its dismantling is a sign of the change of course undertaken by Musk.

EU concerns

These changes worry the European Commission: the fear is that the social media platform will not be able to comply with the new DSA, or the new and strict rules for the control of online content. In recent days, it was the EU vice president Margrethe Vestager herself who highlighted that the new business model appears “totally imperfect”. “Twitter – as reported by the British newspaper – is on a collision course with Brussels”: the social platform in fact “is facing new controls for the EU laws on the surveillance of Big Tech, which have just come into force with the DSA”. The alert from European regulators was triggered when Musk launched Twitter blue, the premium subscription service: its “blue tick” function it has in fact been abused by fake profiles that put the digital environment at risk. European officials are concerned “about the number of Twitter executives who have left the company”, explains the Financial Times, and who “played a role in relations with regulators and in the platform’s implementation of EU rules to contain the dissemination of illegal content online”.

EU to Twitter: “Resources are needed to fight disinformation”

The vice president of the EU Commission Jourova has spoken out against the closure of the European headquarters of the social platform. “I am concerned about the news of the layoff of a large number of Twitter staff in Europe,” she wrote in a Twitter post. “If you want to act effectively against disinformation – she added – and propaganda, resources are needed. Especially in the context of the disinformation war waged by Russia”.

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