A member of the European Parliament has warned that the EU “does not want freedom of expression” after a European Commission official threatened Elon Musk over his takeover of Twitter.
Tom Vandendriessche, an EU representative for the Flemish nationalist Vlaams Belang party, said the European Union “doesn’t want freedom of expression”, accusing the supranational bloc of wanting to “outsource” censorship to big tech corporations.
Vandendriessche’s comments come shortly after one of the European Union’s unelected commissioners, Thierry Breton, made threats to Elon Musk about his takeover on Twitter, telling the pro-freedom-of-speech entrepreneur that he must ensure the platform continues to censor content or face the wrath of Brussels.
In a statement provided by the MEP to Breitbart, Vandendriessche argued that Musk’s publicly expressed goals for the Twitter microblogging platform are positive and in line with what he has personally championed in the past – and that the European Union is threatening democracy through its harsh policy. third-party censorship regime.
“The EU does not want freedom of expression”, said the Flemish MEP. “This is dangerous for their system.”
“They therefore want to ‘outsource’ censorship to private players,” he continued. “They call it ‘taking responsibility,’ but it’s nothing short of flat censorship.”
The Flemish nationalist emphasized that both he and his party support the regulation of big tech companies, but to limit their “arbitrary censorship” of political speech, which is a threat to democracy.
The European Commission, he argued, only seems interested in regulation that imposes its own censorship regime.
“Big Tech manages our communications, private data, preferences and even a vital part of our democracy,” he said. “This is precisely what Big Tech selectively restricts through arbitrary censorship.”
“Elon Musk said that for him freedom of expression online should be parallel to the law,” he continued. “That means what is legal offline must also be legal online.”
“I defended this principle before the European Parliament, but apart from the abstention of the N-VA [New Flemish Alliance]all other Flemish parties voted against this fair principle,” said Vandendriessche.
UK demands Elon Musk hold Twitter ‘responsible’ for censoring content https://t.co/rqyPvERigM
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 26, 2022
Vandendriessche’s statement on the Elon Musk takeover runs counter to views expressed by Europe’s ruling technocrats, with the bloc’s Internal Market czar Thierry Breton demanding that Musk keep the Twitter censorship regime in place.
“Elon, there are rules,” said the EU chief, before referring to questions about so-called “hate speech” and moderation. “You’re welcome, but these are our rules. It’s not your rules that apply here,” he warned.
“If [Twitter] does not comply with our law, there are sanctions – 6% of revenue and, if they continue, banned from operating in Europe”, he threatened.
Breton is far from the only bureaucrat apparently unhappy with the takeover, with UK officials also demanding that Musk continue to censor content he finds problematic.
“Regardless of ownership, all social media platforms must be accountable,” said a spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“This includes protecting users from harm to their sites,” the spokesperson continued. “It is too early to say what – if any – changes will be made to the way Twitter operates.”
However, while those in power both in Europe and america appear largely unhappy with the takeover, the American public seems to appreciate Musk’s decision to buy the top social media platform, with a survey showing that 62% of American adults support the takeover.
That’s compared to just 13% of adults who believe Twitter will get worse with Musk at the helm.
Conservative government REJECTS petition for a free speech act https://t.co/bclH3hoEng
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 28, 2018