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Elon Musk is considering taking X out of Europe


Elon Musk is considering taking X out of Europe amid EU compliance investigation
  • X faces increased scrutiny in Europe over its handling of harmful and toxic content.
  • Elon Musk has floated solving the problem by simply removing the app from the region.
  • It's not the first time he's suggested dramatically reducing access to the app.
In recent weeks Elon Musk has suggested X could stop being accessible in Europe to avoid new regulation enacted by the European Commission.

Musk has become increasingly frustrated with having to comply with the Digital Services Act, a person familiar with the company said. The person added that the Tesla billionaire, who acquired Twitter a year ago for $44 billion and rebranded it to X, had discussed simply removing the app's availability in the region or blocking users in the European Union from accessing it. This would be similar to the way Meta is blocking people in Europe from using its new app, Threads.

The DSA took effect in August and requires large online platforms such as X to have effective and transparent systems in place for the moderation and removal of false, misleading, and harmful information. With a wave of misinformation regarding the Israel-Hamas war quickly going viral on X, the platform is probably already in violation of the DSA.

The EU commissioner Thierry Breton said last week that the European Commission was officially "investigating X's compliance" with the new law and had formally requested detailed information from the platform on its actions to mitigate and remove harmful or toxic information.

Cash-strapped X could face a fine if it's found in violation of the DSA. The commission can impose "periodic penalty payments" of up to 6% of a company's global revenue.

Musk has fired most of X's trust-and-safety team, which was once hundreds of people tasked with moderating and overseeing content on the platform.

This is not the first time Musk has floated the idea of drastically limiting the app's reach. Almost immediately after acquiring the company, he suggested as a cost-cutting measure limiting X's operations to only the US, two other people familiar with the company said.

"That's part of the reason he gutted international teams the first chance he got," one of the people familiar said, referring to some of the thousands of employees Musk had laid off or fired since taking over the company.

A winnowing down of X's international presence came up again earlier this year when Musk decided to close nearly all of the company's roughly two dozen global offices, including most in Europe and India, as well as those in Australia, Africa, and South Korea. At the time, Musk suggested the platform, then still known as Twitter, should shift to operating only in the countries where it was most popular, so the US, the UK, and Japan.

Musk and a representative for X did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The platform's press line has an automatic reply stating, "Busy now, please check back later." After publication, Musk described Insider's report as "utterly false" in a post on X, saying "They are not a real publication."

A representative of the European Commission also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Though Musk has yet to pull X out of any country, one of the people said that essentially no employees remained in Europe, as offices in Paris, Madrid, and Berlin had closed. Dublin, however, remains open. London, too, with the UK no longer being part of the EU and proposing separate obligations for large platforms.

Europe accounts for about 9% of X's global monthly active-user base, data from Apptopia indicates, though daily use has dropped significantly in the past three months, falling between 10% and 40% throughout the region. Downloads and use are down in almost every country the app operates in.

X employees have come to understand that any idea from Musk, no matter how illogical it may seem, can quickly become a reality. Charging people to use the platform was also one of his earliest ideas and is now being rolled out. And Musk is known to be mercurial and reactive. One of the people familiar with the company said that while Musk had met at least twice this year with Breton about what X needed to do to comply with the DSA, he'd lost patience with the situation.

On X, Musk seemed to reply sarcastically to a post from Breton on X's DSA compliance and insisted he didn't understand what was being asked of him. He then said he wouldn't engage in "backroom deals."

"He's very quick to drop the hammer on anyone who he doesn't like," one of the people familiar said, "or who says something that he views as challenging him."


So it's cheaper to limit access to certain group of people. Then to hire thousand and thousand of people to moderate the content.

At the end of the day, it will actually cut down the nos of people working in Tech Sector. Ya I agree. Time for people to do real stuff then to limit and moderate contents.