The Twitter office responsible for complying with European misinformation laws has been shut down after Elon Musk's layoffs




Elon Musk composited next to EU President Ursula von der Leyen
Elon Musk composited next to EU President Ursula von der Leyen  
  • Twitter has closed down its office in Brussels, the home of the EU, per the Financial Times.

  • Its digital policy chiefs, who had been working to comply with new misinformation laws, left the company last week.

  • The EU is now set to publish data which says Twitter is failing to combat disinformation.

Twitter has closed down its office in Brussels, Belgium, according to the Financial Times.

The office was a small one, with under 10 staff, but was vital because of its relationship with the European Union, which last week introduced new laws for social media companies.

Twitter's two digital policy chiefs in Europe - Julia Mozer and Dario La Nasa - left the company last week, five people familiar with the situation told the FT.

It was unclear if they resigned or were laid-off, but they left the company after Musk issued an ultimatum to all staff, telling them to work "long hours at a high intensity" or leave with three months of severance pay.

The pair worked on Twitter's compliance with landmark Big Tech laws which came into effect in the EU last week. The Digital Services Act sets new rules on disinformation, illegal content, and advertising, which also apply to other large platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok.

Other executives in Brussels lost their jobs on November 4, when Musk laid-off half of Twitter's 7,500 employees. Before that, the office had around eight employees, according to Wired.

The FT also reported that the European Commission will publish figures on Thursday showing how Twitter is failing to comply with the EU's disinformation code, because its removals of hate speech have dropped by nearly 5% year-on-year.

Vera Jourova, the EU vice-president who's in charge of the disinformation code, told the Financial Times she was concerned about the closing of the Brussels office.

"If you want to effectively detect and take action against disinformation and propaganda, this requires resources," she said.

"Especially in the context of Russian disinformation warfare, I expect Twitter to fully respect the EU law and honour its commitments," Jourova added.

Soon after Musk's takeover, the EU's internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton tweeted at him: "In Europe, the bird will fly by our rules."

Six days before the FT's report, Breton told Franceinfo that Musk "will have to open his algorithms. We will have control, we will have access, people will no longer be able to say rubbish."

But now the Brussels office has closed its doors, Twitter's relationship with the EU will be tested.

Fears about heightened levels off disinformation on the platform have grown since Musk's takeover, after he allowed anyone to be verified for $8. That led to trolls pretending to be the likes of George W. Bush and former British prime minister, Tony Blair, as well as companies like McDonald's and Nintendo.

Musk has since paused the paid verification scheme, but is likely to bring it back in the near future.

Twitter and the EU did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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