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Elon Musk’s decision to suddenly ban prominent tech journalists from Twitter has sparked outrage in Europe.

Germany warned of an impact on press freedom, while a senior EU official said Twitter must comply with the bloc’s rules or face possible sanctions.

“Freedom of the press cannot be turned on and off as you like,” the German Foreign Ministry said on Twitter on Friday. “From today, these journalists can no longer follow us, comment or criticize us. We have a problem with that @Twitter.”

European Commission vice-president for values ​​and transparency Vera Djurova said the “arbitrary termination” of journalists was “disturbing”, and she noted that the company could face fines as a result.

“The EU Digital Services Act requires respect for media freedom and fundamental rights. This is reinforced under our #MediaFreedomAct,” Jourova said post on Twitteradding that Musk “must be aware of that.”

“There are red lines,” he continued. “And the sanctions, soon.”

On Thursday night, Twitter suspended without explanation the accounts of several high-profile journalists from top news organizations, including CNN’s Donnie O’Sullivan, The New York Times’ Ryan Mack and The Washington Post’s Drew Harwell.

Neither Musk nor Twitter responded to a request for comment Thursday night, and the platform did not explain exactly why reporters were banned from the platform.

Musk falsely claimed that journalists violated his new “doxing” policy by sharing what he said were “coordinates of murder” on his live feed. CNN’s O’Sullivan did not share the billionaire’s live location.

Shortly before his suspension, O’Sullivan tweeted that the social media company had suspended the account of a new competing social media service, Mastodon, allowing @ElonJet to continue posting the location of Musk’s private jet. .

Other journalists suspended Thursday had also recently written about the account.

European leaders have previously said they are watching how Musk’s takeover of Twitter will affect the platform.

A senior EU official, Thierry Breton, warned Musk in late November that the social media platform would have to take significant steps to comply with the bloc’s content moderation laws.

“Twitter must implement transparent user policies, significantly strengthen content moderation and protect free speech, fight misinformation and limit targeted advertising,” Breton said at the time. “All this requires sufficient artificial intelligence and human resources, both in terms of volume and skills. I look forward to making progress in all of these areas, and we’ll be coming to assess Twitter’s readiness on the ground.”

— Chris Liakos, Oliver Darcy, Eve Brennan and Nadine Schmidt contributed reporting.



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