Hasta la vista, European Twitter

Light up another one, Elon

The other day, we were concerned that Twitter would lose its Apple app, with a devastating loss to its revenue. What about losing Europe?

The European Union has reportedly threatened to ban Twitter unless Elon Musk abides by its strict content moderation rules.

The warning, which has been reported by The Financial Times, could be the start of a regulatory battle over the future of the social media platform across Europe.

EU industry chief Thierry Breton made the threat during a video meeting with Musk on Wednesday, the news outlet said, citing people with knowledge of the conversation.

Breton told the world’s richest man he must adhere to a checklist of rules which are set out in the EU’s new Digital Services Act.

According to the report, these include a requirement to ditch an “arbitrary” approach to reinstating banned users and to agree to an “extensive independent audit” of the platform by next year.

The landmark law aims to set the global standard for how tech giants must police content on the internet.

In a readout of the conversation provided by Breton, he told Musk: “There is still huge work ahead, as 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.”

The impressive incompetence of the “world’s richest man” continues to be staggeringly entertaining. I look forward to the incoherent tantrum that will be incoming.


  1. wzrd1 says

    Right on the heels of Twitter changing policy to allow COVID disinformation.
    Can the planet handle the emissions of $44 billion going up in smoke?

  2. says

    Well, that’ll be annoying. I guess I could still access it via a VPN?

    Part of me is enjoying the case study in billionaire shittiness, but part of me is just sad about the livelihoods that will be damaged or destroyed because of this fucking infant of a man, and the twisted system that gave him this much power.

  3. Oggie: Mathom says

    Abe Drayton:

    I imagine that, for the next five or so years, people in the computer tech business will be taking a look at a lot of applications that show ‘I used to work for Twitter.’ And I also suspect that when they left — before or after the mandatory worship of Elon and his muskiness — will be a key component in getting hired. The earlier a programmer left Twitter, the more hireable they will be?

  4. says

    It’s not just Twitter workers, though – I follow a few creative types who get commissions via Twitter, and there’s not really a replacement for that right now. That includes tattoo artists, digital artists of all stripes, sex workers – I doubt we’ll ever get a full accounting of the harm done here.

  5. hemidactylus says

    As much as I share PZ’s schadenfreude of watching Musk go up in smoke, I bemoan what taking Twitter down with him might mean. If blocked in Europe what could that mean for various activists?

    I had been sold on the Arab Spring ideal, previous Iranian activism, and Black Twitter. And I don’t have an account myself but Twitter has been such a valuable reference point here, on the Discord, and elsewhere in so many ways. Ironically it serves as a play by play of its own apparent demise.

    Others here and elsewhere are far more aware than I as far as what’s up and implications. I’m just a spectator to a tragicomic Spectacle played out in real time.

    And yeah there is so much nasty rotten underbelly about Twitter that seems to be in the ascent now under new ownership. Less Habermasian public sphere ideal from here on out if it ever was that.

  6. Tethys says

    I do feel badly for people who rely on this platform, but I am thrilled that Europe is calling out the craptastic Muskrat management, and doing so specifically over the issue of free speech.
    It’s surprising how many tech-bros are still confused that their troll comments on private platforms is not a constitutional right, but they continue whinging about their frozen peaches.

    Content moderation and removal of misinformation is crucial to preventing the trolls from over-running the virtual public square.

    I hope there is a tantrum, followed by several other global media agencies following Europes lead, and then the US can follow suit. Otherwise the asshat party will turn any attempt at desperately needed federal regulation of social media into a partisan soap opera of stupidity.

  7. hemidactylus says

    @9- birgerjohansson
    They were a Boomer band but I still liked them to the extent I knew their catalogue. I mostly recall Nicks though. As Morrison aptly put it “No One Here Gets Out Alive”. He would know. McVie lived quite a long life at 79. Sad still especially for fans. RIP!

  8. hemidactylus says

    @10- John
    Premature jubilation of Musk fanbois that he took over the platform? Surely Musk is more the dog who caught the car, no? Hard to say before dust settles. That might take a while. I hate suspense when it comes to demise of a villain. You? Or will you be sad if that happens?

  9. bcw bcw says

    Someone pointed out that if Musk had instead just paid each of Twitters 2500 employees $5M to quit to destroy Twitter, he would have saved money.

  10. hemidactylus says

    Whenever Stevie Nicks exits this absurd existence I will fall into an irretrievable depressive funk. Ughh! The thought. Life sucks! A teenage crush. In the 80s. I do like Fleetwood Mac!

  11. John Morales says

    hemidactylus @13:

    I hate suspense when it comes to demise of a villain. You? Or will you be sad if that happens?

    Who’s this alleged villain? What is this demise to which you refer?
    … And whyever would I be sad about a villain’s demise?

    (So many questions!)

    As it happens, Spanish is my native tongue.

    “Hasta la vista” is an informal way to say ‘goodbye’ to someone who one expects to see again –basically, ‘until next time’. Equivalent to “see you later”.
    It implies that the separation will be temporary.
    That is, that Twitter will return to the EU.

  12. birgerjohansson says

    Looking from this at another angle, this shows the European Union has power the individual member states would never have. Which is part of the reason why so many countries lined up to join.
    And when demagogues make one country leave, we immediately see that country lose influence and wealth.
    Not even Biden can push around the EU.
    This is positive as greedy lobbyists do not have the same easy way of buying political support in the complex EU political apparatus as they have in -for example- USA.

  13. StevoR says

    @ ^ birgerjohansson : European Union nations particularly themore “socialistic” or maybe mixed market economy ones also generally and consistently rank really highly and top of the list of world’s happiest countires with the best quality of life :


    I wish Oz would look to follow Europe esp Sweden, Denmark, Iceland etc ..and learn from their examples a lot more than following the American one as we sadly tend to do.

  14. says

    It has been suggested, repeatedly and by different people, that possibly the destruction of Twitter by Elon Musk was always actually the plan in the first place. If Twitter is destroyed (either For Real or just rendered totally ineffective) then left-wingers get banished into the decentralized (and therefore less influential) Mastodon and right-wingers and some chunk of the center get pushed into right-wing services with no anti-Nazi moderation at all like Parler and presumably the ones who aren’t already right-wingers get propagandized and radicalized, which is a desirable outcome if you’re a right-winger. Under this theory, Musk might be doing that knowingly with the idea that getting rid of Twitter will somehow pay dividends in the long term, or possibly he was just manipulated into doing it; Peter Thiel has already used the “buy it to destroy it” tactic on Gawker, he reportedly egged Musk on to make the purchase in the first place, and he’s apparently one of the people who underwrote the loan Musk took out to buy Twitter.

  15. KG says

    “Hasta la vista” is an informal way to say ‘goodbye’ to someone who one expects to see again –basically, ‘until next time’. Equivalent to “see you later”. – John Morales@16

    Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson said it in Parliament when announcing his resignation as UK PM; it was taken as implying he intended to return to the job.

  16. John Morales says


    It has been suggested, repeatedly and by different people, that possibly the destruction of Twitter by Elon Musk was always actually the plan in the first place.

    What a stupid supposition!

    (Possibly, such people are trolling)

  17. birgerjohansson says

    I associate “hasta la vista” with “speaking with an austrian accent”. And explosions.
    XKCD once made a bunch of one-liners in falling level of being appropriate.
    “Bangarang, motherfucker” was approximately in the middle.

  18. birgerjohansson says

    KG @ 20
    Regarding people like De Pleffel, Trump, Musk et al;
    Since they regard themselves as the apex of humankind, I enjoy the fantasy of dumpning them in the Karoo wasteland naked with just a small water bottle and a penknife. Darkies manage that situation all the time, so how hard can it be?

  19. petesh says

    Dean Baker, a well-known and -respected economist at the Center for Economic and Policy (CEPR), yesterday tweeted:

    Elon’s Musk takeover of Twitter was all a ploy to get right-wingers to buy electric cars. I think it was pretty brilliant

    This morning, he was permanently banned from Twitter. Screenshot: https://twitter.com/jschmittwdc/status/1598347868171079680
    Huh? said a whole bunch of people; Krugman’s Twitter account was where I heard of it.
    Also: On Nov 29, Baker wrote a well-informed and long serious post on the CEPR blog with a snarky title:

    OMG, a Right-Wing Jerk Can Buy Twitter! Media Concentration Matters

    I suppose that could also have had something to do with his briefly permanent ban. About two hours after this morning’s ban, the account was silently reactivated. Either way, it is to laugh at the big boss, or the lackeys trying to please him, or both.

  20. expatlurker says

    The European regulations are both a blessing and a curse. We hope that web sites will protect our privacy better and curb hate speech. But there is the annoyance that in Europe an extra page comes up asking you about cookies when you visit a web site. It is not infrequent that a web site in the US will just geo-block and refuse to show content unless you employ a VPN. Hundreds of small potato web sites are being fined because they are based on a WordPress theme that uses Google fonts which “leaks” their IP address. Often the potential problems of hosting a web site are too byzantine for web developers and it is easier to just pull the plug.

    On top of this, I doubt that the major data traffickers, google, facebook, amazon, etc. are slowed down at all.