December 5, 2023


Equality opinion

The European Union Moves Toward a Possible Ban of Twitter if Musk Restores Free Speech Protections – JONATHAN TURLEY

The European Union Moves Toward a Possible Ban of Twitter if Musk Restores Free Speech Protections – JONATHAN TURLEY

Twitter LogoWe have been discussing efforts by figures like Hillary Clinton to enlist European countries to force Twitter to restore censorship rules. Unable to rely on corporate censorship or convince users to embrace censorship, Clinton and others are resorting to good old-fashioned state censorship, even asking other countries to censor the speech of American citizens. It is an easy case to make given the long criminalization of speech in countries like France, Germany, and England.

The European Union (EU) has now responded by warning Elon Musk that Twitter may be banned if it tries to restore free speech protections. At the head of this effort is one of the most anti-free speech figures in West, European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton.

As Twitter posts record numbers of new users who want more free speech, a virtual war has been declared by the political and media establishment in a “censor-or-die” campaign against Twitter.

Countries like Germany and Great Britain have also moved to counter any restoration of free speech. We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, including France (here and here and here and here and here and here and here).

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern recently repeated this call for global censorship at the United Nations to the applause of diplomats and media alike.

The anti-free speech movement in the United States has shifted to Europe to do what the government cannot do in this country: force the censorship of dissenting viewpoints. It is, therefore, little surprise that Nina Jankowicz, the short-lived “disinformation czar” at Biden’s Department of Homeland Security, has now registered as a foreign agent with a European group pushing censorship.

The vehicle for this effort is also not surprising. For years, some of us have denounced the EU’s efforts to pass the Digital Services Act, a roadmap for state censorship on the Internet. It is the Western embrace of Chinese style speech controls on the Internet. The chief censor in the West has been Breton, who has shown open contempt for free speech values.

Breton has made no secret that he views free speech as a danger coming from the United States that needs to be walled off from the Internet. He previously declared that, with the DSA, the EU is now able to prevent the Internet from again becoming a place for largely unregulated free speech, which he referred to as the “Wild West” period of the Internet.

It is a telling reference because the EU views free speech itself as an existential danger. They reject the notion of free speech as its own protection where good speech can overcome bad speech. That is viewed as the “Wild West.”

Musk has indicated that he will try to comply with the EU demands but that “there is still huge work ahead.”