Elon Musk’s plan to turn Twitter into a “freedom of speech” center after its $ 44 billion social network takeover could lead to an “immediate blockade” of the platform by the UK government’s proposed online security bill.

Announcing the deal to buy Twitter last month, Musk said: “Free speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital city square where issues vital to the future of humanity are discussed.

However, the UK’s polarizing online security bill, which was introduced in parliament in March, aims to take over major technology companies such as Facebook, Google and Twitter.

If enacted, social media could be fined up to 10% of global turnover for failing to protect consumers from harmful content. For the most serious violations, social media executives can face up to two years in prison.

A government spokesman from the Ministry of Digital Technology, Culture, Media and Sports clarified that Twitter will be fully responsible for violating online laws in cases where freedom of speech is placed above harm to consumers.

“Twitter and all social media platforms must protect their users from harm to their sites,” the spokesman said. UKTN.

“We are introducing new online safety laws to protect children, prevent abuse and protect freedom of speech. All technology companies with consumers in the UK will have to comply with new laws or face huge fines and block their sites.

While the government said the bill would protect freedom of expression, critics warned that Twitter could violate the proposed law if it eased its content moderation policies.

Musk “against censorship that goes far beyond the law”

“Twitter will find it very difficult to work in the UK if it tries to work on the basis of completely free speech, zero rules,” said Imran Ahmed, chief executive of the Center for Combating Digital Hate.

Matthew Lesch, head of public policy at the Free Market Brain Trust, Institute for Economic Affairs, said that “Musk’s vision of freedom of speech will face an immediate blockade” in the United Kingdom.

Lesch added: “The online security bill will oblige platforms to actively monitor consumer content and promote censorship. Companies will have to remove everything that could potentially be illegal, from “hate speech” to emotionally disturbing content – under the threat of fines of billions of pounds.

“This will allow easily offended and malicious actors to demand the abolition of speech.”

Gavin Millar QC he said The times that the Online Security Bill “does not contain the legal guarantees that would be necessary to prevent or limit the risk of violations of the law [to free speech]“.

While Musk described himself as an “absolutist of free speech,” he also said he was “against censorship that goes far beyond the law.”

He added: “If people want less freedom of speech, they will ask the government to pass laws to that effect. Therefore, going beyond the law is against the will of the people.

Conservative MP Julian Knight wrote to Musk this week, inviting Tesla and SpaceX CEOs to London to discuss the future of Twitter.

Musk’s free speech vision for Twitter faces Online Safety Bill ‘roadblock’

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