By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 23 April 2022 • 8:05
EU sets new rules to control illegal content online
The new rules will require large tech firms like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok and others to do more to tackle illegal content on their platforms or face very large fines.
The Digital Services Act (DSA) follows the Digital Markets Act (DMA) which are part of EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager’s strategy to curb the online tech giants. The combined laws could see companies like Google and Amazon having to change their business model in the EU completely.
Vestager said in a tweet: “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 agreement has been welcomed by many MEPs, among them Dita Charanzova, who had called for such rules eight years ago. She said: “Google, Meta and other large online platforms will have to act to better protect their users. Europe has made clear that they cannot act as independent digital islands.”
In a changed approach from some of the companies that are likely to fall foul of the rules, Google issued a statement saying: “As the law is finalised and implemented, the details will matter. We look forward to working with policymakers to get the remaining technical details right to ensure the law works for everyone.”
The new rules could see companies fined up to six percent of their global turnover and for repeat offenders, a ban from doing business in the EU.
Among the new rules is a ban on advertising to children or which is based on sensitive data such as religion, gender, race and political opinions. Also prohibited will be the tactics that mislead people into giving personal data to companies online.
They will also be required to take specific measures when a crisis such as the invasion of Ukraine comes along, with concerns over disinformation and the damage that it causes. That could see internet companies having to open their algorithms to regulators and researchers.
To fund the compliance monitoring the large companies will have to pay a yearly fee up to 0.05% of worldwide annual revenue, however the model has been criticised as its provides exemption for medium-sized companies. .
MEP Martin Schirdewan said: “Under pressure from the conservatives, an exception rule for medium-sized companies was integrated, this is a mistake. Due to the large number of companies that fall under this definition in the digital sector, the exception is like a loophole.”
The new EU rules to control illegal content online will be enforced from 2024.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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