France's Digital Minister Jean-Noël Barrot waded into a growing tussle between the European Union and Elon Musk's Twitter on Monday, as he threatened the social media platform's access to the bloc.
In comments made on radio network France Info, the minister said that the U.S. company would be banned from the EU if it refused to follow the incoming European Digital Services Act, which goes into effect throughout the EU at the end of August.
"Disinformation is one of the gravest threats weighing on our democracies," said Barrot. "Twitter, if it repeatedly doesn't follow our rules, will be banned from the EU," the French minister added.
The remarks mark an escalation of an ongoing fight between European politicians and Twitter, which was bought last year by Elon Musk, the controversial billionaire who also controls Tesla and SpaceX.
Last week, POLITICO reported that the social media platform was withdrawing from the EU's voluntary disinformation code of practice.
The code spells out obligations for large digital platforms on tracking political advertising, clamping down on disinformation, and encouraging wider access and participation to outsiders. Other major social media platforms have pledged to support the rulebook, which is meant to pre-empt some of the measures that will become mandatory under the incoming Digital Services Act. The regulation foresees fines worth up to 6 percent of a company's annual revenue for rule-breakers.
Internal Markets Commissioner Thierry Breton tweeted "You can run but you can’t hide" in response to Twitter's decision to withdraw from the code, POLITICO reports