European Commission Vice President for Values and Transparency Věra Jourová backed Twitter’s content moderation policies today amid an escalating fight between the social media platform and U.S. President Donald Trump.
“I support Twitter in their efforts to develop and implement a transparent, clear and consistent moderation policy. This is not about censorship. This is about flagging verifiably false or misleading information that may cause public harm, linking to reliable information, or flagging content violating their policies,” Jourová told POLITICO in a statement.
For the first time last week, Twitter labeled a pair of Trump tweets with a fact-checking notice, triggering furor in the White House. The U.S. president then signed an executive order that he said would “defend free speech,” by asking regulators to reinterpret a law that shields internet companies from lawsuits over content on their sites.
Since then, Twitter has run a warning label on a tweet by Trump, then on a similar one published from the White House’s official account, arguing they violate the company’s policies on “glorifying violence.”
The Commission on the other hand encourages platforms to moderate content on their platforms. Google, Facebook and Twitter have signed a code of practice on disinformation online and the EU’s executive arm is expected to present later this year the European Democracy Action Plan with further rules on the dissemination of fake news.
“The role of public authorities is not to interfere with content policies of private companies but to ensure that fundamental rights are protected online as well as offline — rights such as freedom of expression and information, non-discrimination, right to security,” Jourová said.
She added: “These rights protect all citizens, not only those in power. As politicians, we have to be held to account, and answer to criticism with facts, not with threats and attacks.”
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