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Twitter is reportedly leaving Brussels – Europe’s regulatory hub – over concerns over Musk’s content moderation plans

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Topline

Twitter has closed its entire office in Brussels financial timesThe severing of ties with one of the world’s major regulatory centers comes as fears grow that the company will struggle to moderate content or even function after new boss Elon Musk ordered brutal staff cuts.

Main facts

Twitter’s office in Brussels, Belgium, closed last week after the two remaining employees left. financial times reported, citing five people familiar with the situation.

Julia Moser and Dario La Nassa, who lead Twitter’s digital policy in Europe, reportedly survived the first rounds of Musk’s layoffs, but they left the company after giving employees an ultimatum to work long hours at high intensity. To leave.

It is not clear whether the two resigned or were removed financial times told.

Though small — the location had up to eight employees before Musk took over — the Brussels office played a key role in the company’s engagement with European policymakers and compliance with the bloc’s strict digital rules.

Vera Jourova, Vice President of the European Commission, who is in charge of the bloc’s dissolution code, told financial times He is “concerned” about Twitter “laying off such a huge number of workers” in Europe.

Twitter will still have to fulfill its obligations and abide by EU law, Jurova said, especially in light of the “Russian disinformation war”.

important quotes

“If you want to effectively detect and combat disinformation and propaganda, you need resources,” said Jurova. financial times. “Twitter has been a very useful partner in the fight against disinformation and illegal hate speech and that should not change.”

what to watch

The closure of Twitter’s Brussels hub could potentially strain the company’s relations with the European Union, which has some of the strictest regulations for the digital world and is often at the forefront of global regulation in the area. It will also raise fears that, despite Musk’s commitment to stamping out disinformation, the platform will be unable to effectively moderate content or address disinformation. The departure of the two remaining Brussels employees from Twitter comes a week after the EU’s milestone rule on digital services came into effect – as well as a voluntary code against disinformation – which could have huge implications for Twitter and similar services. There may be an effect. Compliance is a major concern for businesses and European regulators can impose hefty fines on those who comply, up to 6% of global sales in extreme cases.

news peg

Shortly after Musk took control of the company, Twitter began downsizing. The billionaire fired senior leadership and the entire board of Twitter during the early stages of his reign, laying off nearly half of the staff. He later fired employees who disagreed with him, sometimes publicly, and many more were reportedly fired after being given an ultimatum to work longer, harder hours. Estimates of the number of employees remaining vary, although many reports suggest that key teams monitoring critical systems are understaffed or out of staff.

main background

Controlling hate speech and disinformation was a major issue in Musk’s bid to take over Twitter. A self-proclaimed “autocrat” of free speech, the billionaire has reinstated former President Donald Trump and previously criticized the platform’s policies on moderation and pledged to make changes. Since taking over, the company’s former security chief, Joel Roth, said there had been an “increase in abuse”. Roth’s comments are consistent with early reports of hate speech on the platform, which Bloomberg reported after the acquisition.

tangent

Twitter’s Brussels office has been closed amid reports of a widespread worker crisis at the company’s main European outposts and elsewhere in the world. Particularly noteworthy are the departures from Twitter’s Dublin, Ireland office, which is a key office for the company’s compliance with the EU’s strict General Data Protection Regulation. Ireland’s data regulator has already raised concerns about Twitter’s workforce and whether it will be able to ensure compliance with the bloc’s data protection rules, which could lead to fines of up to 4% of global revenue.

forbes rating

$191.4 billion. This is Elon Musk’s estimated net worth predeterminedReal time tracker. The figure makes Musk, best known for co-founding and leading electric car manufacturer Tesla, rocket maker SpaceX and tunnel building company The Boring Company, the richest person in the world. Musk bought Twitter in October for $44 billion.

Read further

‘#RIP Twitter’ trends like Musk’s employee ultimatum reportedly leading to office exits and closures – here’s what you need to know (Forbes)

Closing of Twitter offices in Brussels fuels online security fears (Financial Times)

Twitter exodus hits teams working globally on regulatory, content issues (WSJ).

Twitter is on a collision course with Europe (Wired)

Also read  George Hotz, the programming prodigy Elon Musk, has asked to help fix Twitter

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