EU has agreed regulations to force big tech to rein in illegal content or face massive fines.
Online platforms like Facebook, Google and Twitter will have to do more to tackle illegal content or face multibillion euro fines under a new European Union regulatory regime agreed yesterday.
The wide-ranging Digital Services Act (DSA) can fine a company up to 6 percent of its global turnover for violating the rules – which could be as much as $7bn (£5.9bn) in the case of Meta, Facebook’s owner – while repeated breaches could result in offenders being banned from doing business in the EU.
The EU’s internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, said: “With the DSA, the time of big online platforms behaving like they are too big to care is coming to an end.”
The new rules, which come into force in 2024, include:
Banning advertising aimed at children or based on sensitive data such as religion, gender, race and political opinions.
Allowing EU governments to request removal of illegal content, including material that promotes terrorism, child sexual abuse, hate speech and commercial scams.
Forcing social media platforms to allow users to flag illegal content in an “easy and effective way” so that it can be swiftly removed.
Online marketplaces like Amazon will need similar systems for suspect products, such as counterfeit sneakers or unsafe toys.
Summing up the new law, the EU antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, tweeted: “We have a deal on the DSA: the Digital Services Act will make sure that what is illegal offline is also seen and dealt with as illegal online – not as a slogan, as reality.”
The new Digital Services Act follows the EU's new Digital Marketing Act which is also accompanied by the power to levy huge fines. It includes a number of eye-catching measures such as online 'gate keepers' not being allowed to rank their own products or services higher than those of others in online search results or reuse data collected from different services; and not being allowed to combine a user’s personal data for targeted ads unless “explicit consent” is given.
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