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Germany to consider whether to stay on Twitter after Elon Musk takeover

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
An image of Elon Musk is seen on a smartphone placed on printed Twitter logos in this picture illustration taken April 28, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

The recent takeover of Twitter by Elon Musk has prompted Germany's government to consider whether it should continue tweeting.

After months of negotiations, Musk purchased the influential social media platform on Thursday for $44 billion. 

The controversial South-African born US billionaire, who also owns Tesla electric car manufacturing company and SpaceX's Starlink two-way satellite-based internet service among other acquisitions, has already signaled his desire to see the company have fewer restrictions on content.

Musk has also called for removing the platform's practice of permanently banning those who use the app for the wrong purposes. But the removal of restrictions will probably not include postings that are obscene, sexually explicit, cruel or racist in nature or which espouse, promote or incite bigotry, hatred or racism.

In this regard, Berlin has decided to wait and see the new developments in the company before it decides whether it should stay or leave the popular social platform. 

"We will monitor possible changes to the platform over the coming weeks and months and then draw our own conclusions," a spokesperson for the government said on Friday, adding that his comments were not intended as a threat.

"The conclusions could also be, to ask oneself the question, whether one still wants to have a presence on the platform or not."

Twitter is of particular importance because of its impact on the German public, the government spokesperson said.

European regulators also reiterated past warnings that, under Musk's leadership, Twitter must still abide by the region's Digital Services Act, which levies hefty fines on companies if they do not control illegal content.

The European Commission has also reminded Musk that he must follow EU rules. "In Europe, the bird will fly by our rules," Thierry Breton, the EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, said on the social media platform on Friday morning.

In a video published in May, Musk said EU digital regulation was "exactly aligned" with his own thinking and he agreed "with everything" Breton had said on the measure which deals with platforms' obligations to moderate content.

In the meantime, sources familiar with the deal said Musk has already fired CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, and Chief Legal Counsel Vijaya Gadde.

Musk had privately clashed with Agrawal in April, immediately before deciding to make a bid for the company.

Musk had been negotiating with Twitter shareholders since he unveiled his offer on April 14.

Musk has said Twitter needs to be taken private to grow and become a genuine platform for free speech.


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