EU: New Rules to Tame Internet

EU: New Rules to Tame Internet
EU: New Rules to Tame Internet

The European Union has agreed on new digital regulations that will force tech giants like Google and Meta to police illegal content on their platforms more aggressively, or else risk potential multibillion-dollar fines.

The European Parliament and EU member states reached a deal on the Digital Services Act, a landmark piece of legislation that aims to address illegal and harmful content by getting platforms to rapidly take it down, CNBC said at the weekend.

Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition chief and a key architect of the bloc’s digital reforms, said the deal is “better than the proposal that we tabled” back in 2020.

“It’s not a slogan anymore that what is illegal offline should also be seen and dealt with online,” Vestager said in a video posted on Twitter.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen issued a statement calling the agreement “historic.”

“The DSA will upgrade the ground-rules for all online services in the EU,” she said. “It will ensure that the online environment remains a safe space, safeguarding freedom of expression and opportunities for digital businesses.”

A key part of the legislation would limit how digital giants target users with online ads. The DSA would effectively stop platforms from targeting users with algorithms using data based on their gender, race or religion. Targeting children with ads will also be prohibited.

So-called dark patterns — deceptive tactics designed to push people toward certain products and service — will be banned as well.

Tech companies will be required to implement new procedures designed to take down illegal material such as hate speech, incitement to terrorism and child sexual abuse. E-commerce marketplaces like Amazon must also prevent sales of illegal goods under the new rules.

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