EU Warns Elon Musk That “There Are Red Lines” After He Bans Journalists From Twitter

Last night, Elon Musk banned a number of journalists from Twitter. That of course set the Internet alight and sent people running to Mastodon. He did a whole lot more than that as well, but I will get to that in a separate story later today. But in that story, I said this:

Given the attention that this is getting, I believe that a number of things are likely to happen: 

  • The EU will see this and make moves to make his life miserable. 
  • Departures to Mastodon will accelerate. 
  • I would not at all be surprised if Capitol Hill gives him a call and asks him to explain himself in front of a Congressional Hearing.

Well, the EU has chimed in and fired a warning shot across Elon’s bow:

Elon Musk’s decision to suddenly ban prominent tech journalists from Twitter is fanning a fierce backlash in Europe.

Germany warned of the impact on press freedom, while a senior EU official said Twitter must comply with the bloc’s rules or face possible sanctions. 

“Freedom of the press cannot be switched on and off as you please,” Germany’s foreign ministry tweeted on Friday. “As of today these journalists are no longer able to follow us, to comment or criticize. We have a problem with that @Twitter.”

Věra Jourová, the European Commission’s vice president for values and transparency, said the “arbitrary suspension” of journalists was “worrying,” and she indicated that the company could face penalties as a result.

“The EU’s Digital Services Act requires respect of media freedom and fundamental rights. This is reinforced under our #MediaFreedomAct,” Jourová said in a post on Twitter, adding that Musk “should be aware of that.” 

“There are red lines,” she continued. “And sanctions, soon.”

The EU doesn’t fool around with this sort of stuff. If they say they’re going to do something, they will do it. And it will hurt Elon because EU sanctions tend to be really painful. The thing is, he had to have known that something like this would have happened if he went about banning journalists on Twitter. Though, he has proven to be a “ready, fire, aim” sort of person who doesn’t think through the consequences of his actions before he does something. And it looks like that’s about to come back to bite him. Which means it really sucks to be Elon as it looks like he’s going to get slapped pretty hard.

I hope it was worth it Elon.

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