Associated Press

Twitter has quit pact to fight online disinformation, says European Union official

The decision to abandon a commitment to fighting false information appears to be the latest move by Elon Musk to loosen the reins on the social-media company since he bought it last year

Twitter owner Elon Musk conducted a survey in December about his future at the company, and a majority of votes called for him to give up the CEO post. This month he announced he had picked veteran advertising executive Linda Yaccarino to succeed him in that post.

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LONDON (AP) — Twitter has dropped out of a voluntary European Union agreement to combat online disinformation, according to a top EU official.

European Commissioner Thierry Breton tweeted that Twitter had pulled out of the EU’s disinformation “code of practice” that other major social media platforms have pledged to support. But he added that Twitter’s “obligation” remained, referring to the EU’s tough new digital rules taking effect in August.

“You can run but you can’t hide,” Breton said.

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San Francisco–based Twitter responded with an automated reply, as it has in response to most press inquiries since being acquired late last year by billionaire Elon Musk, and did not comment.

The decision to abandon the commitment to fighting false information appears to be the latest move by Musk to loosen the reins on the social-media company, whose purchase Musk completed last October. He has rolled back previous anti-misinformation rules, and has thrown Twitter’s verification system and content-moderation policies into chaos as he pursues his goal of turning Twitter into a digital town square.

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Google parent Alphabet GOOG, +0.87% GOOGL, +0.92%, ByteDance’s TikTok, Microsoft MSFT, +2.14%, and Facebook and Instagram parent Meta Platforms META, +3.70% are among those that have signed up to the EU code, which requires companies to measure their work on combating disinformation and issue regular reports on their progress.

There were already signs Twitter wasn’t prepared to live up to its commitments.

The European Commission, the 27-nation bloc’s executive arm, blasted Twitter earlier this year for failing to provide a full first report under the code, saying it provided little specific information and no targeted data.

Breton said Friday that under the new digital rules that incorporate the code of practice, fighting disinformation will become a “legal obligation.”

“Our teams will be ready for enforcement,” he said.

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