EU sets new online rules for Meta, Google to curb illegal content

Under new internet laws adopted on Saturday by European Union governments and EU parliament, Alphabet (GOOGL.O) unit Google, Meta (FB.O), and other giant online platforms would have to do more to combat illicit content or face huge fines.

After more than 16 hours of negotiations, an agreement was reached. The Digital Services Act (DSA) is the second pillar of EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager’s plan to rein in Alphabet (GOOGL.O) company Google, Meta (FB.O), and other US tech behemoths.

Last month, she obtained support from the EU’s 27 member states and parliament for the Digital Markets Act (DMA), a set of measures that might force Google, Amazon, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft to adjust their key business methods in Europe.

In a tweet, Vestager said, “We have a deal on the DSA: The Digital Services Act will ensure that what is illegal offline is equally seen and dealt with as illegal online – not as a slogan, but as reality.”

Dita Charanzova, an EU senator who had sought for such measures eight years ago, praised the accord.

“To better secure their users, Google, Meta, and other huge web platforms will have to take action. Europe has made it plain that they would not be able to function as digital islands on their own “In a statement, she said.

Google issued the following statement: “Details will matter once the law is finalized and applied. We are excited to engage with policymakers to iron out the remaining technical elements so that the law works for everyone.”

Companies who violate the DSA face fines of up to 6% of their global revenue, and repeat violations might result in them being barred from doing business in the EU.

Targeted advertising aimed at children, as well as advertising based on sensitive data such as religion, gender, race, and political beliefs, are now prohibited under the new guidelines. Dark patterns, which are deceptive practices used to trick consumers into supplying personal information to organizations online, will be forbidden as well.

During a crisis, very significant online platforms and search engines will be forced to take certain safeguards. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia, as well as the resulting disinformation, prompted the action.

Regulators and researchers may be obliged to access data relating to the corporations’ algorithms.

Companies will also be charged a yearly fee of up to 0.05 percent of their global annual revenue to fund the costs of compliance monitoring.

Martin Schirdewan, an EU senator, criticized the exemption offered to medium-sized businesses.

“Under conservative pressure, an exception rule for medium-sized businesses was incorporated; this was a mistake. The exception is like a loophole in the digital sector because of the enormous number of enterprises that fall under this description “he stated

In 2024, the DSA will go into effect.

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