Twitter disbands entire Brussels office, questions about EU rules

Twitter disbands entire Brussels office, questions about EU rules

According to media reports, Twitter has disbanded its entire Brussels office, raising questions about the social media company's compliance with new EU laws to control big tech.

Julia Mozer and Dario La Nasa left the company last week, and were in charge of Twitter's digital policy in Europe. The couple had survived an initial cull when Elon Musk laid off thousands of employees following his takeover last month. It is not clear whether they were made redundant or chose to leave in response to Musk's ultimatum to commit to working long hardcore hours or quit.

Neither was it clear whether Twitter was closing its office in the European capital, one of the world's largest centres of tech regulation.

Questions to the press office of Twitter went unanswered, while Moser and La Nasa did not respond immediately to messages.

In the first round of layoffs, Twitter sacked about half of its 7,500 employees, dissolving entire teams, including human rights, machine learning and algorithmic ethics. Stephen Turner, head of the Brussels office, was among the thousands who lost their jobs. He said on 14 November that after 6 years I am officially retired from Twitter. It has been an amazing ride from starting the office in Brussels to building an awesome team. The collapse of the Brussels team raised questions about the company's ability to enforce new rules intended to curb the power of big tech and restrict hate speech.

EU officials are said to have many contacts based in Dublin, where Twitter has its European headquarters, although that office has also faced 50% cuts. The European Commission spokeswoman said that they have active and ongoing contacts with Twitter and other platforms on different topics.

Senior officials have expressed confidence that the departures from the Brussels office do not threaten Twitter's ability to comply with EU laws affecting large tech companies.

The commission said that Twitter along with most other tech companies have become slower in responding to hate speech reports. In 2016 large social media companies agreed a code of conduct with the EU executive pledging to assess most of the hate speech in less than 24 hours. In a seven-week period this year, Twitter only assessed 54% of notifications within 24 hours, as part of a general performance decline by most signatories to the code.

The company will have to deal with the EU's Digital Markets Act, a landmark law that was intended to curb the dominance of large platforms that came into force this month.