The European Union Moves Toward a Possible Ban of Twitter if Musk Restores Free Speech Protections

Twitter LogoWe have been discussing efforts by figures like Hillary Clinton to enlist European countries to force Twitter to restore censorship rules. Unable to rely on corporate censorship or convince users to embrace censorship, Clinton and others are resorting to good old-fashioned state censorship, even asking other countries to censor the speech of American citizens. It is an easy case to make given the long criminalization of speech in countries like France, Germany, and England.

The European Union (EU) has now responded by warning Elon Musk that Twitter may be banned if it tries to restore free speech protections. At the head of this effort is one of the most anti-free speech figures in West, European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton.

As Twitter posts record numbers of new users who want more free speech, a virtual war has been declared by the political and media establishment in a “censor-or-die” campaign against Twitter.

Countries like Germany and Great Britain have also moved to counter any restoration of free speech. We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, including France (here and here and here and here and here and here and here).

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently repeated this call for global censorship at the United Nations to the applause of diplomats and media alike.

The anti-free speech movement in the United States has shifted to Europe to do what the government cannot do in this country: force the censorship of dissenting viewpoints. It is, therefore, little surprise that Nina Jankowicz, the short-lived “disinformation czar” at Biden’s Department of Homeland Security, has now registered as a foreign agent with a European group pushing censorship.

The vehicle for this effort is also not surprising. For years, some of us have denounced the EU’s efforts to pass the Digital Services Act, a roadmap for state censorship on the Internet. It is the Western embrace of Chinese style speech controls on the Internet. The chief censor in the West has been Breton, who has shown open contempt for free speech values.

Breton has made no secret that he views free speech as a danger coming from the United States that needs to be walled off from the Internet. He previously declared that, with the DSA, the EU is now able to prevent the Internet from again becoming a place for largely unregulated free speech, which he referred to as the “Wild West” period of the Internet.

It is a telling reference because the EU views free speech itself as an existential danger. They reject the notion of free speech as its own protection where good speech can overcome bad speech. That is viewed as the “Wild West.”

Musk has indicated that he will try to comply with the EU demands but that “there is still huge work ahead.”

 I have previously suggested that, if Musk is forced to comply with EU censorship rules, he should post a warning to the citizens of these countries that they are being given state-controlled information under mandatory censorship laws.
However, in the United States, Musk should hold the line in his restoration of free speech and release the record on the company’s past censorship efforts.

Musk has forced people to take side in this existential free speech fight. The public has responded by signing up in record numbers. It is time for the public to see the truth about the years of election manipulation and viewpoint discrimination.

So, open the files. Allow the public to see not just communications on censorship (including subjects beyond Hunter Biden) but how Twitter may have used verification, throttling, algorithms, or other methods to control speech. The company does not have to release codes or potentially damaging information to reveal the back channel communications, deliberations, and targeting choices.

By embracing total transparency, Musk can force the EU and other companies to face the ugly realities of censorship. Let them take ownership of censorship as the public demands both transparency and accountability.


46 thoughts on “The European Union Moves Toward a Possible Ban of Twitter if Musk Restores Free Speech Protections”

  1. In Ancient history it was assumed that the powerful were placed in power because they were superior to the common man. It was assumed by the powerful that enslavement of the common man was acceptable. This philosophy continues today on much of the Globe. Then came an idea that men are created equal. This idea has always been met with scorn by those in power. It is not surprising that those who in their superiority want to limit the call for freedom coming from what they believe to be the lesser man. They say, where did this foolish idea of equality among men come from? As In the distant past, in the present they will have none of it. Closing an eye and an ear will not make this eternal struggle go away. Gird your loins.

  2. I opened a Twitter account some years ago to follow Trump and some other conservatives. Within 6 months I discovered I was “shadow banned”. I have no idea why I was shadow banned, but it was suggested to me that I had followed too many of the “wrong people” (in case anyone is wondering, I don’t cuss, post inflammatory opinions, and I never “retweeted” anything that could be considered offensive by any reasonable person’s senses). So I closed my account and never went back. I was thinking now that Elon Musk has taken over I would open up a new account to follow some of those same people without fear of shadow banning. Much to my dismay, the Biden Administration has said they are actively “monitoring” Twitter. What form of monitoring is the Biden Administration doing? Anything like the DOJ targeting parents at school board meetings? We see out of control politicians like Sheldon Whitehouse trying to use the IRS to target conservatives. I do read Professor Turley’s articles here and occasionally comment. However, no one in my immediate family have any social media accounts (Facebook, Rumble, Twitter, etc.) because everyone is afraid of the very nasty “Big Brother” we have somehow let run amok. This country has long ago abandoned the principles it was founded on.

  3. The EU, and countries within Europe, outlaw speech that would be protected by the first amendment here. If Musk accepts European controls, he may find that the platform cannot be as free as he would want. He will then have to consider his options:

    1. Accept the extraterritorial application of European norms throughout the platform and the consequent limits on free speech;

    2. Apply European norms to accounts based in Europe but not elsewhere, if that is technically possible; or

    3. Close the platform to European accounts, with whatever financial consequences that may have.

    If option 2 is technically possible, that would likely be the best solution.

  4. Am I to understand, from this, that the EU is not in favor of free speech – shades of nazi Germany and communist Russia – tell me it isn’t so, did we save their sorry *sses (three times) just to watch them do this insane woke sh*t?

    1. The EU is oddly note infected with the insane woke virus that is pretty exclusive to the US.
      At the same time the EU does not and never has had the same value of free speech that exists in the US.

      It is probable that Musk can work something out with the EU.

      Not directly related, but on the same issue – no one should expect that Twitter under musk is going to become a free speech free for all.
      In the End Musk is looking to make money that means twitter will strive to be a place where the LARGEST possible number of people are comfortable.

      While the Press focuses on Musk ending the process of political discrimination, and unblocking accounts that offend the woke.
      Musk has been actively censoring all over the place.
      But that censorship has been rules driven and designed to make Twitter a better place.
      Musk as expected is at war with bots. He is aggressively trying to block child porn. As well as inciting violence.

      So far I have found that Twitter is more politically diverse and less nasty and bitter since Musk took over.

      I am honestly OK with any rules based content moderation scheme that Musk wants – so long as it is as objective as possible, and not ideological.

      Musk has already banned several antifa accounts for advocating violence.
      I have no problem barring speech advocating violence from Twitter – left or right.

      What I want is objective rules based with clear rules known to all.
      An end to “misinformation” tagging by Twitter or affiliates – if you think something is misinformation – reply with a correction.
      Ultimately users should decide – not Twitter, not third parties.
      Speech that is actually illegal in the US – threats of violence, child porn – should not only be banned but refered to law enforcement.

      1. I agree with most of what you say. Generally, the judicially developed exceptions to free speech is a good way of drawing the line.

        1. It is the FOUNDATION that Twitter and All Social Media MUST start with.

          Every form of speech that government may legitimately restrict – must be prohibited on SM.
          Actual Incitement to violence.
          Threats to do violence.
          Child porn.

          AFTER that – more is actually needed.
          While Musk gets to decide what more is needed – it is his platform.
          Users get to decide how much freedom they want or do not want.

          There is not anything inherently wrong with Twitter censoring all right wing speech.
          If that is what happens – Twitter will become a left wing paradise, but far fewer users will be on twitter and Musk will never recapture the $44B he paid for the place.

          I would assume Musks objective is not to make Twitter a right wing or left wing niche.
          That he wants the most possible users. Therefore whatever the rules, they must be the ones that maximize the number of users.

          I WANT Musk to succeed – with some set of rules that is NOT politically biased.
          I WANT that because if he does – the rest of Social media will be FORCED to follow.
          Public companies are answerable to shareholders and shareholders want profits, And profits come from maximizing users.
          Anything Trump does that works – shareholders will pressure other public companies to do.
          BTW that will likely go beyond social media.

          I do not care if Musk comes up with the perfect free speech platform.
          I care greatly that he destroys politically driven censorship AND succeeds.
          Because that is an existential threat to ALL of our woke institutions.

  5. Fabianism as proposed by the Sidney Webb’s and George Bernard Shaw may provide an appropriate study to most of the left’s ideas about the future. Fabianism based on Fabius Cunctator’s tactics of attrition, timing and preparation in battling Hannibal was founded in England in the 1880’s. In short, they wanted rent subsidies, welfare for liberation of talents (sound familiar to Nancy’s proclamations), progressive taxation, and to disintegrate capitalism to form a social democracy, better defined as Socialism. They advocated administrators be trained in social democracy to avenge unbridled capitalism. These administrators would come from the elite educated class within society. The followers of Fabianism, scoffed at capitalists, and the unworthy masses.

    The Fabian’s have made progress in the EU and headwaters are flowing into America’s politics. For the sake of America’s principles these leftists must be stopped.

    I’ll end with Don Marquis’s words from “archy and mehitable”

    i met a toad
    the other day by the name
    of warty bliggens
    he was sitting under
    a toadstool
    feeling contented
    he explained that when the cosmos
    was created
    that toadstool was especially
    planned for his personal
    shelter from sun and rain
    thought out and prepared
    for him
    do not tell me
    said warty bliggens
    that there is not a purpose
    in the universe
    the thought is blasphemy
    a little more
    conversation revealed
    that warty bliggens
    considers himself to be
    the center of the same
    the earth exists
    to grow toadstools for him
    to sit under
    the sun to give him light
    by day and the moon
    and wheeling constellations
    to make beautiful
    the night for the sake of
    warty bliggens
    to what act of yours
    do you impute
    this interest on the part
    of the creator
    of the universe
    i asked him
    why is it that you
    are so greatly favored
    ask rather
    said warty bliggens
    what the universe
    has done to deserve me
    if i were a
    human being i would
    not laugh
    too complacently
    at poor warty bliggens
    for similar
    have only too often
    lodged in the crinkles
    of the human cerebrum

  6. “The European Union (EU) has now responded by warning Elon Musk that Twitter may be banned if it tries to restore free speech protections.”
    Oh, they’ll threaten but they won’t as Apple threatened and then backed down last night per a tweet from Musk. (All is well between Elon and Tim, we’re told. Never even a thought of banning Twitter from the App Store said Cookie Monster) Twitter is just as valuable to the EU (and Fräulein Ursula (“100,000 dead … or not”) von der Leyen) as they are to Twitter. Cut off your communications to the outside world at your peril in the modern world. Musk is winning and bigly and that’s wny the pigs are squealing so loudly.

    One of the things I love about free speech is that all it needs is the tinest of cracks to bring down the whole damn dam. J’Accuse, Common Sense, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Jungle, Fast Food Nation, and on — read by a few, felt by a many.

    Let Musk and Freedom Ring!

  7. A lot of interesting posts today. I think I have posted in the past about Europe not learning much of anything from the cataclysms that they unloosed on themselves and the world in the 20th century. Unfortunately Europeans turn to the State to solve every problem whereas Americans generally had more of a direct action and personal action approach. Still there but under assault.
    If we had a president who was worth a damn we could have a straightforward conversation with the EU and mention that they have many investments in the US (as we have there) that could be seized and sold off to compensate American companies for the damage inflicted upon them by the hostile power of the EU and their authoritarian rules and diktats. Musk might change his European headquarters to Italy (sunnier) or Poland or Hungary. Or just place more of his Starlink satellites over Europe or station one that is geostationary and spew forth his free speech. He has the capability to do that.

  8. It’s because he’s Africa-American, a Person of Color, a peach American, right? They should be careful to avoid exercising liberal license to indulge diversity [dogma] (e.g. racism) breeds adversity.

  9. (*Not* OT)

    Iran’s theocrats murdered twenty-two-year-old Mahsa Amini (which sparked widespread protests). What was her “crime?” She was showing too much hair under her compulsory hijab.

    What is the connection to Europe’s criminalization of speech? — the morality police. Whether they are policing hair or speech, vaccines or your business — they’re everywhere. They wield the government’s police powers to force their view of the “good” on the rest of us.

    How to halt this world-wide romp to totalitarianism? Demand that governments stop legislating morality. Demand that they not use their police powers to abridge an individual’s moral autonomy.

    1. Demand that governments stop legislating morality. Demand that they not use their police powers to abridge an individual’s moral autonomy.

      I fully agree
      Can we do it incrementally?
      Lets start small with public schools k-6? ban the CRT, and queer/gender indoctrination.

  10. Musk responded recently to Reuters quote,
    “Exactly. The obvious reality, as long-time users know, is that Twitter has failed in trust & safety for a very long time and has interfered in elections.

    Twitter 2.0 will be far more effective, transparent and even-handed.”

    Whatever has he found that would make so many freak out?

  11. “. . . the long criminalization of speech in countries like France, Germany, and England.” (JT)

    We fought a World War for this?!

    Europe has learned nothing.

  12. give it a couple years…Russia and China will have more freedoms than the fascist west! Remember when we FOUGHT with Russia to STOP Germany…because they were WORSE?
    Well we are not siding with the Fascists German’s, EU, etc

  13. I must pinch myself to be sure I am correctly reading that there is an active censorship cadre in the United States, something I never thought I’d ever see. Remember what this cadre has in common- they are of the same party. I’m not suggesting there aren’t exceptions, but the organized powerhouses of censorship in America are of the same political ilk. They are vile, and they are unpatriotic.

  14. Dear Professor, Musk is not a champion of free speech! I realize that at the moment he’s a darling of the right wing but a man who bars criticism of himself is not a fan of free speech.

    1. So far I have seen no evidence of Musk banning criticism of himself. He is banning bots and that probably insults holmes. One can go to the net and see for themselves a concerted effort to insult Musk yet the Tweets remain.

      Where does holmes get this information? From the same places he gets everything else he says. What is holmes’ record? He is about 0 per hundred comments.

    2. All he bans is the trashing of the COMPANY THEY WORK FOR . Do you know any companies that allow you to complain PUBLICLY against the company that is paying you?

      Man, the left’s arguments get more moronic every day.

    3. I don’t give a damn about Musk. What I care about is a global platform used by tens of millions where opinions from one extreme to the other, from dyed in the wool Communists to goose stepping Nazi’s and everyone in between can freely express themselves without fear of retribution or censorship; a place where all ideas can be engaged and debated.

      There is no value more sacred or important.

  15. It is telling to learn who appeto be threatened by free speech. If one has nothing to hide they should welcome transparency.

    “When the Nazis came to power in 1933, the German constitution guaranteed freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Through decrees and laws, the Nazis abolished these civil rights and destroyed German democracy. Starting in 1934, it was illegal to criticize the Nazi government. Even telling a joke about Hitler was considered treachery. People in Nazi Germany could not say or write whatever they wanted.

    Examples of censorship under the Nazis included: Closing down or taking over anti-Nazi newspapers; Controlling what news appeared in newspapers, on the radio, and in newsreels; Banning and burning books that the Nazis categorized as un-German; Controlling what soldiers wrote home during World War II.”
    —Holocaust Encyclopedia

  16. It should be clear at this point that the modern left, globally, are a force antithetical to freedom, period; young people are being taught to embrace it, and they are. What has been unfolding in this country just over the past few years would have been unthinkable just a decade ago. It is absolutely going to take people standing firm to reverse course. This is no longer absurd: it’s out in the open, and it’s now or never. I honestly thought the days of the Bastille were behind us. Who knew the modern fortress would be a leftist construct of money and bad ideas.

  17. Imagine if some rich person had bought Mussolini’s newspaper (He made it into the voice of all the elements who were discontented and disillusioned with democracy) before the mid 1920s.

    I imagine Mussolini and Mussolini’s followers would have acted just like the EU and Apple are now.

      1. I’m not attacking Musk.

        On the contrary, I wholeheartedly support Elon’s efforts to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, sooner rather than later. No one else in the EU (or U.S.) have offered any ‘peace proposal’ at any time, I’m aware of?

        *in fact, I believe the EU leadership, at least, considers Russia a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ and purposely censors such peace proposal as support for a ‘terrorist regime’ .. . which is outlawed.

          1. Ukraine didn’t bribe the Bidens with Millions along with many others from the Billions we were giving them….to have the war stopped!
            They Bribed for a gravy train of money, with generous kickbacks for donor cronies!

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