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European Union. New rules for big online platforms

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Popular Internet platforms and search engines operating in the European Union must meet new, high requirements regarding, among others, content moderation and user privacy. Companies will face a fine of up to 6 percent of their annual turnover.

The new rules, which have been in force since Friday, follow the entry into force of the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) last November. For now, the list of entities to comply with the regulation includes 17 “very large online platforms” and 2 “very large internet search engines”. These are entities with over 45 million users in the EU.

The list includes: Alibaba AliExpress, Amazon Store, Apple AppStore, Booking.com, Facebook, Google Play, Google Maps, Google Shopping, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, X (formerly Twitter), Wikipedia, YouTube, Zalando, as well as Bing and Google Search.

From mid-February, the regulations will apply to various online platforms, regardless of their size.

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New requirements on the Internet

The new requirements assume, among other things, that users will be able to easily report illegal content, and “platforms will have to handle such reports with due diligence.” Additionally, ads will not be served based on sensitive user information such as ethnicity, political views or sexual orientation. Platforms will also have to ensure a high level of privacy, protection and security for minors.

From Friday, targeted and profiling advertising to children is no longer allowed. Platforms and search engines must address the risks of dissemination of illegal content online and the negative effects on freedom of expression and information. Platforms must also analyze specific threats and put in place mitigation measures, for example in relation to spreading disinformation and inauthentic use of the service.

The Digital Services Act “applies to all digital services that connect consumers to goods, services or content,” she explained European Commission. It establishes new, comprehensive obligations for online platforms to “reduce harmful phenomena and counter online threats” and “provide new opportunities to protect users and provide legal certainty for businesses across the single market”.

Threat of high fines

In case of non-compliance with the imposed obligations, the companies face a fine of up to 6 percent. their annual trade turnover. Recidivists may be subject to a total ban on operating in the EU.

Critics of the regulation fear that it could be used to censor the internet under the pretext of fighting “hate speech” and disinformation.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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