Twitter is facing the prospect of EU sanctions over CEO Elon Musk's recent decision to suspend several journalists' accounts, including those belonging to reporters from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN.
"News about arbitrary suspension of journalists on Twitter is worrying," EU Commissioner and Vice-President for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová tweeted on Friday. She then implied that the suspensions contravene the EU's Digital Services Act — which "requires respect of media freedom and fundamental rights" — and claimed that there will be "sanctions, soon".
Jourová comments were echoed by the German Foreign Office. "#Press freedom must not be switched on and off at will," the Foreign Office's official account tweeted. "As of today, journalists will no longer be able to follow, comment and criticise us either. We have a problem with this @Twitter."
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This is not the first time that Musk has been threatened with EU legal action: last month the EU's Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, claimed that Twitter still had "huge work ahead" to ensure compliance with the Digital Services Act, including "significantly reinforcing content moderation and protecting freedom of speech".
Musk — a self-proclaimed "free speech absolutist" — suspended the journalists' accounts on Thursday evening after alleging that the reporters were "doxxing my real-time location and endangering my family". The American Civil Liberties Union has since condemned the "purge" as "an attack on free expression", and called for Twitter to "reinstate the accounts immediately".