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Twitter faces ban in Europe for flouting regulations

The company has not said whether it will comply with an upcoming disinformation law, but previously opposed a voluntary code that mirrors it.

The company has not said whether it will comply with an upcoming disinformation law, but previously opposed a voluntary code that mirrors it.

A sign attached to Twitter's global headquarters is viewed from a sidewalk on Market Street in San Francisco, California. June 18, 2014. (Photo: Matthew Keys/The Desk/Creative Commons)
A sign attached to Twitter’s global headquarters is viewed from a sidewalk on Market Street in San Francisco, California. June 18, 2014. (Photo: Matthew Keys/The Desk/Creative Commons)

Twitter could be banned from operating in Europe if the company doesn’t comply with an upcoming law regarding disinformation and political advertising, a government official in France warned this week.

During a radio interview, French Digital Minister Jean-Noël Barrot said the social media platform faces significant fines or an outright ban if the company refuses to comply with provisions of the European Union’s Disinformation Code of Practice.

The Code is currently voluntary for private businesses operating in European Union member states, but many of its provisions will become mandatory through the European Digital Services Act (EDSA), which takes effect in August.

The regulation requires websites to track political advertising and limit the spread of misinformation, among other things. Several other major social media platforms have affirmed their intention to comply with the EDSA by the time it becomes law. Twitter, on the other hand, has voiced its opposition to the Code of Practices and has not indicated whether it will comply with the EDSA.

“Disinformation is one of the gravest threats weighing on our democracies,” Barrot said during the radio interview. “Twitter, if it repeatedly doesn’t follow our rules, will be banned from the E.U.”

Before a ban, Twitter would likely be subject to financial penalties for flouting the EDSA, which could see government regulators impose fines of up to 6 percent of its revenue.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).