The EU has issued Twitter owner Elon Musk with an ultimatum, ordering the tech billionaire to censor so-called "disinformation" or face being sanctioned under the Digital Services Act (DSA). (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


EU threatens Musk with ultimatum to censor ‘disinformation’ on X


The European Union has issued X owner Elon Musk with an ultimatum, ordering the tech billionaire to censor so-called “disinformation” or face being sanctioned under the Digital Services Act (DSA).

Eurocrats have not specified what exact consequences the platform could face if it fails to comply. Penalties could include a hefty fine, as well as the online giant being completely taken down from the European internet.

Writing on X, the European Commission’s censorship tsar Thierry Breton accused the platform of allowing itself to be used to “disseminate illegal content & disinformation”.

Breton went on to demand that Musk respond to the letter within the next 24 hours and contact various EU law enforcement agencies regarding how to implement the EC’s censorship rules.

“I remind you that following the opening of a potential investigation and a finding of non-compliance, penalties can be imposed,” he added.

Musk did not appear to take kindly to the threats, stating that content moderation on X was entirely “open source and transparent”, which he claimed was in line with EU values.

He replied on X to demand that Breton list the various violations the platform is actually accused of “so that the public can see them”.

Breton refused this request, insisting Musk was already “well aware” of what the EC was talking about. He added it was up to Musk to prove that X “walks the talk” in terms of enforcement.

Musk engaged with users on the platform, comparing the EU to the former USSR, commenting that [the word “soviet” just means “committee” in Russia, so the USSR “was a committee of committees of committees”.

The EC’s threats represent the latest escalation of tensions between Musk and Brussels. The two parties have been at each other’s throats since the US entrepreneur bought the platform, then called Twitter, in 2022.

Musk has become increasingly vocal about European politics in recent months, frequently criticising anti-free-speech legislation at both national and EU levels.

He has also become increasingly critical of what he said was the bloc’s lax stance towards immigration.

Writing in response to warnings on the topic from Konstantin Kisin – who is set to appear at the Brussels Signal launch event on October 24 – Musk posited that mass migration into Europe could lead to serious violence.

“If current trends continue, civil war in Europe is inevitable,” Musk wrote.

Breton has said the EU has “no other choice” but to examine the creation of a joint military programme, advocating for the purchase of an aircraft carrier for the bloc to help fend off external threats.

This is unlikely to go down well with the likes of Austria or Ireland, both of which are militarily neutral.