European Union New Internet Rules

The European Union finalized new legislation that will require the world’s big tech companies to remove harmful content. This is the latest move of the union to regulate the world’s online giants.

Overview:

  • The Digital Services Act (DSA) has the aim of ensuring tougher consequences for websites and platforms that will be hosting banned content ranging from disinformation to hate speech and images of child sexual abuse.
  • The legislation was being worked upon since 2020 and the EU parliamentarians and officials finally reached an agreement at talks that were held in Brussels, Belgium on 23rd April 2022.
  • The DSA regulation is the Digital Markets Act’s (DMA) companion. The DMA targeted the anti-competitive practices that were prevalent among tech giants like Facebook, Google, etc. The DMA agreement was concluded in March.

Allegations against the tech giants

The tech giants of the world have been constantly called due to their failure to police their platforms like how a terrorist attack in New Zealand was live-streamed on Facebook in 2019 causing global outrage. The internet’s dark side also includes e-commerce platforms that are filled with defective and counterfeit products. Also, the tech giants haven’t really worked to get rid of racism from their platforms.

Obligations under the DSA

Under the new regulation, the tech giants will be required to remove illegal content swiftly from their platforms as soon as they are made aware of its existence. The social networking platforms will also have to suspend the users who have been frequently breaching the law. The e-commerce sites will be forced to verify the suppliers’ identities before listing their products on platforms.

Additional requirements on very large platforms

While many of the DSA’s requirements apply to all businesses, it imposes additional requirements on the behemoths that are defined as those having more than 45 million active users in the European Union region. The list of such companies has not been released yet but it will include tech giants like Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, etc. These companies will be required under the regulations to assess the risks that are associated with using their services and must remove all illegal content. These companies will also have to be more transparent regarding their algorithms and data.

Yearly audits

The European Commission will be overseeing yearly audits and will be able to levy fines of up to 6 percent of the companies’ annual sales for repeated violations. Among the practices that are being expected to be outlawed is the usage of data political views or religion for the purpose of targeted advertising.

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