There was positive and negative news about the Twitter freedom-of-speech issue on Wednesday. First, the negative news that the European Union is stomping its feet and threatening to shut down the social media site in the event that its new CEO, Elon Musk, carries through on his promises to make the platform more open to different views and dialogues and refuses to tighten its grip by censoring and removing content, as per the European Union's (EU’s) Digital Services Act.
“Twitter will have to implement transparent user policies, significantly reinforce content moderation and protect freedom of speech, tackle disinformation with resolve, and limit targeted advertising,” EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton reportedly told Musk during a video chat Wednesday.
While Musk hasn't made public any information of his own from the virtual meeting he had with Breton, he did take to the Twitter machine following his visit to Apple headquarters, where he met with CEO Tim Cook, sharing the positive information that his “misunderstanding” over Apple threatening to pull Twitter out of the App Store (as Musk claimed on Monday) had been “resolved” and that Cook informed him that “Apple never considered doing so.”
This meeting between Musk and Cook came after a five-day period during which Musk acknowledged that Twitter influenced the 2020 election, threatened to make his own phone in the event that Apple and Google attempted to “Parler” Twitter by pulling it from their respective app stores, released “Twitter Files on free speech suppression,” and changed Twitter's policies on discussions concerning COVID and vaccines to create an environment in which people were not punished (as they were under the previous regime) for posting opposing opinions.
In the mix with these many announcements were some not-so-subtle rebukes against Apple's tax policy, such as asking, “Did you know Apple puts a secret 30% tax on everything you buy through their App Store?” in response to a tweet by WatcherGuru about the way “Apple takes a 30% tax from app developers who make over $1 million through the App Store on an annual basis.”
“Apple's App Store is the equivalent to a 30% tax on the Internet,” they concluded.
While all this was happening, the Biden White House admitted during its Tuesday press conference that they were “monitoring” Twitter for supposed “misinformation” under Musk, which they further emphasized during the Wednesday press briefing.
There's a lot going on—some positive, some not so great. However, the good thing about all of this is that Musk seems to be remaining true to his word (so far) that he's here for the long run. He did not get to where he is now by allowing self-important, powerful, hard-core thugs to force him to submit.
Buckle up, and keep an eye on the track! The rollercoaster ride is just beginning to get going.