The European Union on Saturday announced a provisional agreement on the Digital Services Act which, according to the organization “will help to keep the digital space safe from illegal goods, content and services, and to protect fundamental rights online.”
More practically, it should mean that massive tech companies like Meta, Google, Apple, Amazon and others will need to police their platforms and products more aggressively and remove anything that violates certain standards, including ads.
“The DSA follows the principle that what is illegal offline must also be illegal online. It aims to protect the digital space against the spread of illegal content, and to ensure the protection of users’ fundamental rights,” reads the press release announcing the agreement.
🎉‼️ @EUCouncil and @Europarl_EN have just reached a provisional agreement on the Digital Services Act
The #DSA will help to keep the digital space safe from illegal goods, content and services, and to protect fundamental rights online 👩💻
— EU Council Press (@EUCouncilPress) April 23, 2022
The new regulations threaten serious fines for companies who do not comply and, according to CNBC, the EU has not been shy about levying such fines, having hit Google with “a combined 8.2 billion euros ($8.8 billion) in fines” as a result of antitrust violations.
The law’s purpose is to confront the societal harms that stem from social media and online commerce such as the proliferation of hate speech, algorithms that amplify divisive content, exposing minors to inappropriate content or ads, ad targeting based on ethnicity or religion, the spread of misinformation and more.
Size and sprawl cannot be used as excuses. In fact, the bigger an entity is, the more responsible they will be held.
“The obligations introduced are proportionate to the nature of the services concerned and tailored to the number of users, meaning that very large online platforms (VLOPs) and very large online search engines (VLOSEs) will be subject to more stringent requirements,” reads the agreement.
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