Elon Musk is under renewed pressure from the US and EU over his ownership of Twitter, as regulators clamp down on the billionaire’s push to transform the social network into a freewheeling haven of free speech.
The European Commission yesterday threatened Musk with a ban unless Twitter abided by strict content moderation rules, while US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen indicated that Washington was reviewing his purchase of the social network.
The warning from Brussels came in a video call between Musk and Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner in charge of implementing the bloc’s digital rules, according to people with knowledge of the conversation.
Breton told Musk that Twitter must adhere to a checklist of rules, including ditching an “arbitrary” approach to reinstating banned users, pursuing disinformation “aggressively” and agreeing to an “extensive independent audit” of the platform by next year.
Twitter/Apple row: Musk says he spoke with Apple chief executive Tim Cook about his claim that Twitter could be removed from the App Store and has “resolved the misunderstanding”.
Lex: The dangerous spat should prompt the erratic billionaire to cut debt.
Five more stories in the news
1. Emerging market stocks and bonds stage powerful rebound rally Emerging market stocks and bonds are staging a strong rebound as hopes China will loosen its Covid-19 curbs and a dollar sell-off have helped relieve some of the pressure on developing economies. JPMorgan’s broad gauge of dollar-denominated emerging market debt climbed around 7 per cent in November, its best month since 2008.
2. Sunak sets up strikes unit as more vote to walk out British prime minister Rishi Sunak has created a dedicated strikes unit to co-ordinate the government’s response to a threatened “winter of discontent”, as more than 10,000 ambulance workers became the latest public-sector employees to vote for industrial action.
3. EU to raise concerns over UK’s freeports scheme The EU fears the UK’s new freeport regime could lure investment away from the bloc. The UK has designated eight areas as freeports, allowing them to benefit from tax breaks and simplified customs controls. London hopes they will become manufacturing hubs, with components imported tariff-free.
4. Amazon’s hardware teams first to face axe Staff working on Alexa, Kindle and Halo are the first to go as the tech giant downsizes with dismissals this month. But investors want further cuts, with Wall Street unimpressed by Amazon management’s inability to tame a workforce that doubled during the pandemic.
5. Lukoil resumes talks to sell Italian refinery US private equity group Crossbridge Energy Partners has resumed talks to buy Italy’s largest petroleum refinery from Russia’s Lukoil, people briefed on the matter have told the Financial Times. An agreement would value Sicily-based ISAB refinery at €1bn-€1.5bn.
The day ahead
EU chief in China European Council president Charles Michel meets China’s Xi Jinping, but the long-awaited encounter comes with the unfortunate timing of coinciding with unrest over the country’s zero-Covid policy. (Politico)
Economic data The EU publishes October unemployment data, while the Nationwide House Price index for November is out in the UK. Brazil releases third-quarter gross domestic product figures.
Earnings Kroger and Peel Hunt have third-quarter and first-half results, respectively.
England vs Pakistan cricket match England are scheduled to play their first Test match in Pakistan in 17 years. However, the game could be postponed due to illness in the England team. (BBC)
Olympic draw Registration begins for the ticket draw of the 2024 Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Countdown to Christmas The Norwegian spruce at London’s Trafalgar Square will be lit in the annual tree lighting ceremony.
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What else we’re reading
Brexit has had a ‘substantially negative’ impact on UK economy Almost two years after Britain left the EU, economists have reached a consensus: Brexit has significantly worsened the country’s economic performance. But so far, ministers have mostly rejected the evidence.
Taking on China as south Asia’s favourite lender As China’s Belt and Road Initiative has proliferated across south Asia, India has also ramped up its infrastructure lending in the region. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration lags far behind Beijing in its overseas lending, New Delhi has stepped up its efforts, providing tens of billions of dollars in credit to neighbouring countries.
The FT’s 25 most influential women of 2022 Abigail E Disney, Jamie Lee Curtis, Marina Silva, Beth Mead, Christiane Amanpour, Marina Abramović, Nicola Sturgeon and other contributors highlight the women who made their mark in 2022, exploring their achievements across cultures, industries and artistries. “It is a celebration,” writes Financial Times editor Roula Khalaf, and “also a way of interrogating the ways in which power and influence are changing”.
Student housing: the bubble that won’t burst Budget squeezes are no match for a sector with a structural supply shortfall, writes Cat Rutter Pooley, not to mention resilient demand from wealthy foreign students and well-off middle-class parents who prioritise spending on their offspring’s education.
The deflating of the great cash cushion Economists have been forecasting contraction for the US economy since at least April, shortly after the Federal Reserve began raising interest rates. Credit the cash cushion American consumers and corporations built during the pandemic. But that will eventually disappear, and then the economy will nosedive, writes Megan Greene, global chief economist at Kroll.
Foreign demand for property in Spain hit an all-time high in the third quarter of this year, according to Spanish land registry data. The Costa del Sol has emerged as a particular haven. Part of the draw stems from a new fiscal incentive that is encouraging the wealthy to consider the southern Spanish coast.