EU official says Twitter is abandoning bloc’s voluntary pact against disinformation

LONDON (AP) — Twitter has dropped a European Union voluntary agreement to tackle online misinformation, a senior EU official said Friday.

European Commissioner Thierry Breton tweeted that Twitter had removed from the EU’s “code of conduct” on disinformation that other major social media platforms have pledged to support. But he added that Twitter’s “obligation” remained, referring to tough new EU digital rules that would come into force in August.

“You can run but you can’t hide,” Breton said.

San Francisco-based Twitter responded with an automated response, as it does for most press inquiries, and offered no comment.

The decision to drop the pledge to fight fake news appears to be billionaire owner Elon Musk’s latest move to loosen the reins of the social media company after buying it last year. It rolled back previous anti-misinformation rules and threw its verification system and content moderation policies into chaos as it pursues its goal of turning Twitter into a digital public square.

Google, TikTok, Microsoft and Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, are among those who have signed up to the EU code, which requires companies to measure their work to counter disinformation and publish regular reports on their progress.

There were already signs that Twitter was not ready to meet its commitments. The European Commission, the executive arm of the 27-nation bloc, lambasted Twitter earlier this year for failing to provide a comprehensive first report under the code, saying it provided little specific information and no targeted data.

Breton said that under new digital rules that incorporate the code of practice, tackling misinformation will become a “legal obligation”.

“Our teams will be ready for the application,” he said.

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