• EU's digital chief Thierry Breton said up to 10 digital specialists will conduct the stress test
  • A top EU official recently slammed Twitter for choosing 'a hard way' to comply with EU rules
  • The French digital minister has threatened to ban Twitter if it refuses to follow the bloc's rules

Twitter will be subjected to a "stress test" by European Union digital specialists this month, Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for the internal market, said Thursday.

Breton, who has repeatedly called on the social media platform to adhere to the bloc's tech regulations, said in an interview that a team of about five to 10 digital specialists from the EU will put Twitter and possibly other tech companies under "stress tests" late this month, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The French business executive clarified that the stress test is voluntary and does not have enforcement or monetary consequences, but it will give Twitter an idea of how the bloc's Digital Services Act (DSA) will be enforced.

Breton's comments come days after he revealed that Twitter has left the EU's voluntary Code of Practice against disinformation. The EU's digital chief warned that even if the social media platform pulled out of the disinformation code, "obligations remain."

"You can run but you can't hide," he said.

Vĕra Jourová, vice president of the European Commission, said "bye, bye" to Twitter, adding that the platform "has chosen a hard way to comply with our digital laws."

"Russia's disinformation is dangerous and it is irresponsible to leave EU's anti-disinformation Code," she said.

Jourová went on to reveal that the Code "remains strong" and this month, she will meet with signatories "so we can step up our actions" ahead of the elections.

As of June 1, Twitter was still listed as a signatory of the EU disinformation code alongside other prominent American tech companies such as Meta, Microsoft, Google and Twitch.

Earlier this week, France's digital minister Jean-Noël Barrot said Twitter may be banned in the EU if it refuses to follow the bloc's digital platform rules.

"Disinformation is one of the gravest threats weighing on our democracies. Twitter, if it repeatedly doesn't follow our rules, will be banned from the EU," Barrot said as per a translation by Politico.

Breton and Musk have held two video calls since the Tesla CEO took over the social media platform in October last year.

During the January video meeting, Breton warned that "the next few months will be crucial to transform commitments into reality," Reuters reported. He said the EU wants to see "progress towards full compliance with the DSA."

Twitter's withdrawal from the EU's disinformation code is a contradictory move to Musk's earlier comments about the DSA being "exactly aligned" with his thinking, as he said in a meeting with Breton weeks after his plan to purchase Twitter surfaced.

"It's been a great discussion ... I agree with everything you said, really," Musk told Breton in a video that the EU official shared on Twitter.

The tech billionaire also replied to the video saying it was a "great meeting" with Breton. "We are very much on the same page," he said.

Twitter's relationship with the EU has been on the rocks in recent months as officials raised concerns about the company's content moderation, disinformation and journalist ban.

Barrot and Jourová previously called out the social media platform for the sudden ban of some journalists in mid-December. The banned journalists were from CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times, as per Politico.

After the ban on journalists, French industry minister Roland Lescure said he was temporarily leaving the platform to protest Twitter's move.

Some German officials also criticized the move, with the German Foreign Affairs Ministry saying press freedom should not "be switched on and off arbitrarily."

In March, Twitter insiders told BBC that the platform could no longer protect users from disinformation, hate and child sexual exploitation after mass layoffs and changes at the company since the Musk takeover.

One employee told the outlet that harassment campaigns that targeted freedom of expression were going "undetected" on the platform.

An employee only identified as Sam said the chaos within Twitter was driven by the massive disruption in the workforce as many were laid off and others left the company after Musk took over.

An April study found that hate speech increased across the platform since October 2022 and the daily use of hate speech by accounts posting hateful content nearly doubled after the tech billionaire's takeover.

Musk has denied that hate speech increased across the platform in an interview with BBC's James Clayton in April.

Illustration shows Elon Musk photo and Twitter logo
The bird will get a preview of how the EU looks to enforce its strict digital laws this month as the platform seems to have defied the bloc by withdrawing from the EU disinformation code. Reuters