Twitter has dissolved its entire Brussels office, according to media reports, raising questions about the social network’s compliance with new EU laws controlling big tech.
Julia Mozer and Dario La Nasa, who were in charge of Twitter’s digital policy in Europe, left the company last week, the Financial Times reported.
The pair survived an initial layoff when Elon Musk laid off thousands of employees following his takeover last month. It is unclear whether Mozer and La Nasa were fired or chose to leave in response to Musk’s ultimatum to commit to working long “extremely hard” hours or quit.
It was also unclear whether Twitter was closing its office in the European capital, one of the world’s biggest centers of tech regulation.
Questions to Twitter’s press office went unanswered, while Moser and La Nasa did not immediately respond to messages.
In the first round of layoffs, Twitter laid off about half of its 7,500 employees and disbanded entire teams, including human rights, machine learning and algorithmic ethics. The head of the Brussels office, Stephen Turner, was among the thousands of people who lost their jobs. He tweeted on November 14: “After 6 years I have officially retired from Twitter. It’s been an amazing ride from setting up an office in Brussels to building an amazing team.”
The collapse of the small Brussels team has raised questions about the company’s ability to enforce new rules aimed at curbing the power of big tech and curbing hate speech. EU officials are said to have many contacts with the headquarters in Dublin, where Twitter has its European headquarters, even though that office also faced 50% cuts. “I can confirm that we have active and ongoing contacts with Twitter (and other platforms) on various topics,” said a spokesperson for the European Commission.
Senior officials said they believed the departures from the Brussels office did not threaten Twitter’s ability to comply with key EU laws on big tech companies.
The news came as the commission revealed that Twitter — along with most other tech companies — has been slow to respond to reports of hate speech. In 2016, major social media companies agreed a code of conduct with the EU executive, pledging to deal with most reports of hate speech in less than 24 hours. Over a seven-week period this year, Twitter evaluated only 54% of notifications within 24 hours, part of a general decline in performance for most code signatories.
The company will also have to contend with the EU’s Digital Markets Act, a landmark law designed to curb the dominance of big platforms that came into effect this month.