Twitter has chosen "confrontation" by deciding to leave the EU's code of practice against online disinformation, European Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova said on Monday. The Commission announced ten days ago that the American social network controlled by Elon Musk was withdrawing from this voluntary code launched in 2018, which contains about forty commitments aimed in particular at better cooperating with fact-checkers and depriving sites disseminating fake news of advertising. "We think this is a mistake on Twitter's part ... They chose confrontation," Vera Jourova, the Commission's head of values and transparency, told reporters.
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Beyond the voluntary commitments currently in place, the fight against disinformation will become a legal obligation under the DSA (the European Digital Services Act) in force from 25 August. If Twitter "wants to operate and make money in the European market, it will have to comply with the law on digital services," Vera Jourova said. "The code is voluntary, but make no mistake: by leaving the code, Twitter is going to get more attention. Its actions and compliance with European law (DSA) will be scrutinized closely, firmly and as a matter of priority," she warned. Twitter's departure comes as no surprise to Brussels: since buying the social network more than six months ago, billionaire Elon Musk has relaxed the moderation of problematic content and appears to have amplified the voices of notorious propagators of disinformation on the platform.
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The European Code of Practice against online disinformation brings together around thirty signatories, giants such as Meta, Google, Microsoft or TikTok, but also smaller platforms, as well as advertising professionals, fact-checkers and NGOs. The signatories of the code had themselves participated in its drafting. "A lot of people working at Twitter had collaborated with us ... It's sad. Twitter had very competent and determined (employees) who understood that there must be some responsibility, increased accountability on the part of the platforms," Jourova said.