Big tech companies must meet new EU requirements to curb illegal content and disinformation on their platforms after negotiators reached a landmark deal on how Europe governs the internet.
Officials from the European Parliament, the French EU Council Presidency and the Commission agreed early on Saturday morning after a 16-hour marathon of negotiations on the new set of rules on how internet actors moderate and manage content Digital Services Act (DSA) – fueled with snacksrelieved by comfortable sportswear and punctuated by occasional threats to leave the table.
“The Digital Services Act is an important milestone,” said Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton. “This is the first time in 20 years that Europe has tackled regulation of the digital and information space.”
Leading Danish S&D MEP Christel Schaldemose welcomed a “global golden standard” for better online rights for citizens and democratic control over algorithms.
Along with Digital Markets Act, the DSA is part of a broader regulatory crackdown on Big Tech, fueled by concerns about the availability of illegal content online. Aimed at curbing child sexual abuse images, terrorist content and dangerous products, the DSA will also force online platforms to open the black box of how their algorithms work.
Going forward, regulators will support police tech giants’ efforts to stop the spread of untruths as information battles have come to the fore during the coronavirus pandemic and Ukraine conflict. They will ensure that large digital companies have better control over algorithms that can promote extreme and unsafe content.
Fines for non-compliance of up to 6 percent of global sales are levied across social media giants like Facebook and Instagram, as well as porn websites, search engines like Google, podcast streaming platforms like Spotify, and online marketplaces like Amazon.
The ultimate threat would be a ban on companies that repeatedly break the rules.
The DSA, which could come into force later this year, is expected to impact regulatory efforts outside of Europe. At least two US officials who have been victims of online falsehoods in recent years support the EU’s move. Former US President Barack Obama called for social media rules to stop growing political polarization.
Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday pushed EU officials to reach deal on DSA and ‘strengthen global democracy before it’s too late’
“Tech platforms have fueled disinformation and extremism without accountability for too long. The EU is ready to do something about it,” she wrote on Twitter.
Brussels decided to ban a widespread but controversial marketing practice that could fuel disinformation and hate campaigns. Targeting people with online ads based on religion, sexual preference, health information and political beliefs will be taboo in the coming year.
Online platforms will be prohibited from sending personalized advertising messages to children in order to improve the privacy and safety of minors online.
European negotiators restricted dark patterns – manipulative designs that trick people into agreeing to something they really don’t want.
Platforms also need to be more accountable to users and regulators. Facebook must take action and inform users when they report a specific illegal content. Social networks can ban and ban users only after informing them. People can challenge a social media platform’s decision and demand financial compensation from digital companies for not respecting the DSA.
Online platforms are faced with new transparency obligations, for example to clearly explain how algorithms recommend content to users. Businesses are required to publish semi-annual detailed reports on their moderation efforts, including staff numbers, expertise, languages spoken, and use of artificial intelligence to remove illegal content. You will be asked to enter the number of banned accounts and deleted content.
“Google, Facebook and other major online platforms will have to act to better protect their users. Europe has made it clear that they cannot act as independent digital islands,” said Liberal lawmaker Dita Charanzová.
Meanwhile, EU judges and authorities will be empowered to ask internet actors to remove illegal content – based on national or EU laws – and to provide information about user accounts.
In order to fight counterfeit luxury bags, counterfeit medicines and illegal rentals, online marketplaces like Amazon, Airbnb, eBay, AliExpress and Etsy need to verify that they have some information about the merchants using their platforms.
The Commission will oversee almost 30 very large technology companies with more than 45 million users in the EU. Such firms will have to pay a new annual fee of 0.05 percent of their global revenues to fund Brussels’ new regulatory role.
EU ministers and Parliament must approve the agreement in the coming months. Big tech firms then have six months to prepare for the rules, while companies with fewer than 45 million users have 15 months.
CORRECTION: In a previous version of this article, the supervisory fee was incorrectly stated.
https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-strikes-deal-on-law-to-fight-illegal-content-online-digital-services-act/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication Big Tech Firms Face Tough EU Content Rules – POLITICO