France’s Digital Minister Jean-Noël Barrot on Monday raised the tempo on the rising tussle between the European Union and Elon Musk’s Twitter, as he threatened the social media platform’s access to the economic bloc.
In comments made on a French radio network, the minister said that the U.S. company would be banned from the EU if it refused to follow the incoming European Digital Services Act, which goes into effect throughout the EU at the end of August.
“Disinformation is one of the gravest threats weighing on our democracies,” said Barrot. “Twitter, if it repeatedly doesn’t follow our rules, will be banned from the EU,” the French minister added.
The remarks mark an escalation of an ongoing row between European politicians and Twitter, after it was acquired last year by controversial billionaire, Elon Musk who also controls Tesla and SpaceX.
There were reports last week of Twitter was withdrawing from the EU’s voluntary disinformation code of practice which spells out obligations for large digital platforms on tracking political advertising, clamping down on disinformation, and encouraging wider access and participation to outsiders.
Other major social media platforms have pledged to support the rulebook, which is meant to pre-empt some of the measures that will become mandatory under the incoming Digital Services Act. The regulation proposes fines worth up to 6 percent of a company’s annual revenue for rule violators.
Internal Markets Commissioner Thierry Breton tweeted “You can run but you can’t hide” in response to Twitter’s decision to withdraw from the code.