Elon Musk’s decision to abruptly ban prominent tech journalists from Twitter has sparked a backlash in Europe.
Germany warned of the impact on press freedom, while a senior EU official said Twitter must abide by EU rules or face possible sanctions.
“Freedom of the press cannot be switched on and off at will,” German Foreign Office tweets on Friday. “As of today, these journalists are no longer able to follow us, comment or criticize. We have a problem with that @Twitter.”
The European Commission’s vice-president for values and transparency, Věra Jourová, said the “arbitrary suspension” of journalists was “concerning”, and she said companies could face penalties for it.
“The EU’s Digital Services Act requires respect for media freedom and fundamental rights. Our #MediaFreedomAct reinforces this,” Jourová said in a statement post on twitteradding that Musk “should be aware of that.”
“There are red lines,” she continued. “And sanctions, son.”
On Thursday night, Twitter banned the accounts of several high-profile journalists from top news organizations without explanation, including CNN’s Dono Sullivan, The New York Times’ Ryan Mack and The Washington Post’s Deutschland. Rouhavel.
Neither Musk nor Twitter responded to requests for comment Thursday night, nor did the platform explain exactly why journalists were banned from the platform.
Musk falsely claimed that reporters sharing his live location violated his new “doxxing” policy and amounted to what he called “assassination coordinates.” CNN’s O’Sullivan did not disclose where the billionaire lives.
Shortly before his suspension, O’Sullivan reported on Twitter that the social media company had suspended the account of Mastodon, a burgeoning and competing social media service that allowed the continued posting of @ElonJet, a tweet from Musk. Accounts for private jet locations.
Other journalists who were suspended on Thursday also wrote recently about the account.
European leaders previously said they were watching how Musk’s takeover of Twitter would affect the platform.
Thierry Breton, a senior EU official, warned Musk in late November that the social media platform must take drastic steps to comply with EU content moderation laws.
“Twitter must implement a transparent user policy, significantly increase content moderation and protect free speech, take a firm stand against disinformation, and limit targeted advertising,” Breton said at the time. “All of these require adequate AI and human resources, both in terms of volume and skills. I look forward to making progress in all of these areas, and we will be on the ground assessing Twitter’s readiness.”
— Chris Liakos, Oliver Darcy, Eve Brennan and Nadine Schmidt contributed to this report.