Does Twitter's ban on social media linking violate EU rules?
Twitter has banned promoting other social media platforms on the microblogging site. Users are no longer allowed to include links to their profiles on Facebook, Instagram, and Mastodon, among others. This abrupt policy change invited strong criticism against the company and its CEO Elon Musk. Now, a Twitter user has suggested that the company's action is in direct violation of European Union rules.
Twitter's prohibition on linking violates Digital Markets Act
According to Twitter user @JuddLegum, Twitter's decision to prohibit the linking of other social media platforms is in violation of the EU's Digital Markets Act (DMA). The act entered into force on November 1, 2022, and is for regulating "gatekeepers" in digital markets. The purpose of the act is to ensure that the gatekeepers behave in a fair way.
The act defines gatekeepers as online bottlenecks
The act defines gatekeepers as online platforms that have a strong economic position, are active in multiple EU countries, have a strong intermediate position, and if they fulfill the above criteria in the last three financial years, have or are about to have a durable and entrenched position in the market. The act prescribes certain do's and don'ts for gatekeepers.
Gatekeepers can't prevent consumers from linking businesses outside their platform
As per DMA, a gatekeeper isn't allowed to treat its services or products more favorably than similar services or products offered by third parties. A gatekeeper can't prevent "consumers from linking up to businesses outside their platform." If they violate these rules, gatekeepers will have to pay up to 10% of the company's total worldwide annual turnover or 20% in case of repeated infringements.
Is Twitter a gatekeeper or not?
According to a journalist who goes on Twitter with username @Gnppn, Twitter is "too small" to be considered a digital market gatekeeper like Facebook. Similarly, he said that neither DSA directly prohibits such a policy. He added, under DSA, the commission can decide that the ban on linking third-party platforms is a risk to society.
Twitter is not a gatekeeper under DMA
Ne comptez pas sur le Digital Markets Act (DMA) pour contraindre Twitter. Il est trop petit pour être un "contrôleur d'accès" de marché numérique comme l'est Facebook, donc cette obligation de laisser les utilisateurs lier les concurrents n'existe pas https://t.co/5kCkBHjKPi— Guénaël (@Gnppn) December 18, 2022
Twitter is now an 'editorial media,' says French official
Another European official has come up with a different take on Twitter's new policy. The official in question is Éric Freyssinet, the chief scientific advisor to the Gendarmerie national, one of the two law enforcement forces of France. According to him, deleting tweets linking other social media accounts makes Twitter an "editorial media." This makes the platform liable for any illegal content.
Does new policy change Twitter's status as social media platform?
Any attempt to remove my tweets that link to my other social media accounts, not violating any law, would actually make #twitter an editorial media, and no longer a social media platform, with civil and criminal liability for *any* illegal content therein. https://t.co/kwoFHVue43— Éric Freyssinet (@ericfreyss) December 18, 2022