BRUSSELS: European Union justice commissioner Didier Reynders will travel to Ireland on Thursday to meet executives from Twitter and Facebook’s owner Meta and remind them of their responsibilities under EU rules.
Sources in Reynders’s office told AFP he would be in Dublin on Thursday and Friday and will meet both big tech and Irish officials, including Justice Minister Helen McEntee.
The social media giants’ EU operations are based in Ireland, and Brussels is worried that a wave of job losses will undermine their content moderation and data protection standards.
Twitter has been taken over by billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, who has already sacked around half of the firm’s 7,500 employees, including many tasked with fighting disinformation.
Meta, meanwhile, home to founder Mark Zuckerberg’s social media behemoth Facebook, has said it plans to lay off more than 11,000 staff amid an advertising slump.
Under EU data protection rules and a new Digital Services Act (DSA), firms serving European web users must meet strict standards regarding dangerous content, privacy protection and the transparency of their algorithms.
But there are concerns in Brussels that Musk’s libertarian free speech stance — and the gutting of Twitter’s staff — will undermine efforts to stamp out propaganda, hate speech and harassment.
Reynders will also raise concerns with the Irish government, which has been keen to provide a welcoming environment for the tech giants as a key part of its economic strategy.
He will notably address the question of Ireland’s refusal to cooperate with the new European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO).
The head of the EPPO, Laura Kovesi, has sent a letter to the commission complaining about Ireland’s rejection of all requests for judicial cooperation made by her services.
The EPPO is recognised by 22 of the 27 EU member states — not including Ireland — and has been frustrated in its efforts to investigate six cross-border cases involving the country.