Europe puts platforms under control in line with the Digital Services law

"We bring our European values ​​to the digital world.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
25 August 2023 Friday 11:06
4 Reads
Europe puts platforms under control in line with the Digital Services law

"We bring our European values ​​to the digital world. With strict rules on transparency and accountability, our Digital Services Act aims to protect our children, societies and democracies. From today, the big online platforms will have to apply the new law". This is how the president of the European Commission, Úrsula von der Leyen, greeted yesterday the entry into force of the new Digital Services law (DSA, for its acronym in English), which will subject technologies to content control , especially the largest, which are the first to be obliged to comply with the new regulations.

The Digital Services law replaces an outdated internet commerce law that is more than 20 years old and establishes that platforms such as social networks and search engines must apply measures to protect users from content, goods and services that may be illegal. legal and harmful. The regulations also oblige companies to be more transparent and explain how they recommend their content. With the DSA they will not be able to publish advertising based on data of minors or that are particularly sensitive, such as sexual orientation, religion or ethnicity.

One of the great innovations of the DSA is that it exercises its control over the companies according to the size and the number of people they have registered as users. The big ones will have to fulfill stricter obligations, because European legislators point to them as the ones that pose the most risks to society when they spread harmful content, such as disinformation.

For these large platforms, the DSA requires an annual assessment of the risks of their services and to adapt their design or their algorithms in such a way as to limit the possible negative effects, to limit their effects. The control will also apply to threats to public safety or health in times of crisis, such as disinformation spread during the pandemic.

On the contrary, small companies and micro-companies are exempt from some obligations and have more time than larger companies to apply the rules. The enforcement of the law will be shared between the authorities of each country, which will regulate the smaller platforms, and the European Commission, which has exclusive jurisdiction over the larger ones.

The Digital Services law entered into force on November 16, although a series of transitional deadlines were established that will make it directly applicable throughout the European Union on February 17, 2024. However, on 25 In April, the European Commission designated the first group of very large platforms and gave them a maximum period of four months to comply with the new regulations, which expired yesterday.

The final count of the big ones adds up to 19 platforms and search engines with more than 45 million users in the European Union, such as Google, Meta, X (Twitter) and TikTok. Two of them, Amazon and Zalando, have submitted appeals to the General Court of the EU, because they allege that they do not fit the definition given by the commission and want to prevent the regulations from being applied to them.

The maximum amount of fines will be 6% of the company's annual global turnover. All platforms will have to have an "access button" for users to report possible violations, such as hateful memes or advocating terrorism.