To smoke this human decency

The only South African known to Americans other than Trevor Noah has finally bought the company he fought so hard not to buy.

Shortly after the power transition to Musk, the company promised to reinstate Trump, started to smell like 4chan, and people were fired. The Blue bird app is quickly becoming a canary in the mine of anarchic hate speech.

But don’t get too comfortable. The Wild Wild Web still has law enforcement in town.

The European Union’s competition czar has a message for new Twitter chief Elon Musk: We’re watching you.

Ever since Tesla’s CEO took ownership of the social network last week, promising, among other changes, to loosen rules on what people can post on Twitter, authorities in Europe have been waiting for any sign that Twitter might run afoul of European privacy laws. speech

“There is a European rulebook and you have to live by it,” said Margrethe Vestager, executive vice president of the European Commission, which oversees digital policy for the bloc’s 27 countries, in her first interview since Musk took over. Twitter. “Otherwise, we have fines. We have fines. We have all the assessments and all the solutions waiting for you.’

Now that’s what I call a seasonal threat. The Digital Services Act may end up being the salvation that prevents Uncle Bubba from sharing the bag of climate change denial, vaccine smears, and voter fraud that so inspires the question, “What about my free speech?!?!?! » people.

[T]The law requires major online platforms like Twitter to be audited by outside experts to assess how harmful material, such as the spread of misinformation, is being handled.

“They will have to do a systematic assessment of their services, can they be hijacked for subverting democracy or other harmful practices, or is the service itself harmful to people, regardless of their terms of service?” Vestager said.

I don’t know what kind of law professor teaches a course on the intersection of international law, freedom of speech, and censorship, but congratulations! Reality just wrote a hyperspecific hypofunction for your final.

Do I really think that a shaky law is all it takes to make a billionaire play by the rules? No. But considering that the penalty for violating the law is a fine of up to 6% of the company’s annual global revenue, it’s hard to imagine that it won’t somehow shape the terms of service and enforce standards.

Just kidding – it’s getting bad.

[R]The researchers also noted a spike in hate speech on Twitter after Musk took over.

According to the Network Contagion Research Institute, the use of the n-word increased by 500% after Musk’s purchase. The researchers also noted that posts on extremist forums such as 4chan encourage people to “test the limits” of Twitter’s tolerance for hate speech by posting derogatory remarks and watching what happens.

I’ll have some hope for the EU once the lawsuits start rolling in. Until then, you might want to consider creating that Mastodon account you’ve been putting off for later.

Top European official: If Twitter ignores the law, fines will “haunt” Elon Musk [NPR]


Chris Williams became Above the Law’s Social Media Manager and Associate Editor in June 2021. Before joining the staff, he worked as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s. He lasted Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University’s law school in St. Louis. He’s a former boat builder who can’t swim published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love of cycling, which occasionally annoys his peers. You can contact him by email at cwilliams@abovethelaw.com and via tweet at @WritesForRent.


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