Elon Musk Has a Surprise Meeting

The billionaire met French President Emmanuel Macron with whom he discussed Tesla’s future plans.

Elon Musk is everywhere.

Since becoming the owner of Twitter  (TWTR) – Get Free Report on October 27, the richest man in the world has further increased his presence and influence. 

He is currently involved with five companies: rocket company SpaceX, The Boring Company, Neuralink, Twitter and Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Free Report. The last two companies were the topics of conversation in a surprise meeting Musk just had.

In fact, the serial entrepreneur met with French President Emmanuel Macron on December 2 in New Orleans.

Macron said he had a “clear and honest discussion” in New Orleans with the new boss of Twitter, insisting that the social network make “efforts” in terms of transparency and “strengthening content moderation.”

“I’ll say it here, on Twitter, because it’s all about the blue bird. This afternoon I met with @elonmusk and we had a clear and honest discussion,” Macron tweeted in English and French.

Twitter v. EU

“Transparent user policies, significant reinforcement of content moderation and protection of freedom of speech: efforts have to be made by Twitter to comply with European regulations,” the French president added.

Macron thus seems to reiterate the warning given this week to Musk by European Commissioner Thierry Breton, that the social network must comply with European rules if it wants to remain present within the European Union.

“Huge work ahead still — as Twitter will have to implement transparent user policies, significantly reinforce content moderation and tackle disinformation. Looking forward to seeing progress in all these areas,” the European commissioner for the internal market, Thierry Breton, wrote on November 30, following a Zoom meeting with the Techno King.

The EU is particularly concerned about Musk’s decisions on which tweets are acceptable on the platform in the name of free speech, even if they are hateful, racist and antisemitic. 

For example, he reactivated the account of former President Donald Trump and accounts with a history of anti-transgender posts. He also announced a general amnesty for all banned accounts. For the Techno King, as he is known at Tesla, any message is acceptable, as long as it does not violate the law of the country in which it is posted. 

But many advertisers are wary of this laissez-faire approach for brand-safety reasons. They have thus paused their ads on the platform. 

Twitter’s recent decision to eliminate its safeguards against COVID-19 misinformation doesn’t reassure many advertisers either. Furthermore, even if Musk’s changes pass muster in the U.S. and other countries, they won’t in the EU, where the rules are tougher.

The EU, which adopted the Digital Services Act (DSA), last January, a law aimed at making the internet a “safer space for users,” wants what is prohibited offline to be prohibited online as well.

Tesla in France

The DSA requires that social networks set up a button to report hateful posts. It should be easy to use. In other words, users should not have to click multiple times to trigger a report. 

The DSA also includes fines of as much as 6% of a platform’s overall revenue.

Macron said Musk “confirmed the Twitter’s participation to the Christchurch Call,” referring to an initiative launched by several states and NGOs in 2019, after the Christchurch massacre in New Zealand. The images of the massacre remained accessible online for several hours. 

“There is no place for terrorist and violent extremist content anywhere,” Macron said, adding that the CEO of Twitter also promised “to improve online child protection.”

The meeting between the two men was not on the agenda of the French president, on a state visit to the United States. It took place out of the sight of the media. Macron posted an image of the two men chatting around an empty table. Macron and Musk also discussed Tesla.

“In line with our ambition for decarbonizing and reindustrializing France and Europe, with @elonmusk we exchanged on future green industrial projects, such as manufacturing of electric vehicles and batteries,” Macron said without providing further details.

Musk confirmed the meeting but gave no further details.

“It was an honor to see you again,” the billionaire said. “Looking forward to exciting plans in France!”

He said nothing to explain what these plans were.

Tesla has promised to reveal the names of the locations of its next factories before the end of 2022. Many countries, like South Korea and Indonesia, are courting the company. The electric vehicle manufacturer opened its first European plant in Germany in 2022. It has three other vehicle assembly plants: in Fremont, California, in Austin, Texas and in Shanghai, China.

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