European Commission imposes new content regulations on major online platforms

The Digital Services Act aims to create a safer internet, with 19 large online platforms and search engines having until August 25 to comply with new rules.

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General view inside the European Parliament

The European Commission (EC) has announced that 19 major online platforms, including Google, Meta, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and TikTok, must comply with new online content regulations under the Digital Services Act by August 25. The platforms were chosen because they each reported having over 45 million active users in the European Union as of February 17. Companies have four months to comply, with possible fines amounting to 6 percent of a provider’s annual revenue.

Here is the full list of companies, announced Tuesday, that will now receive closer monitoring and tighter rules under the DSA, according to the EU.

  • Alibaba’s AliExpress
  • Amazon Marketplace
  • Apple AppStore
  • Facebook
  • Google Play
  • Google Maps
  • Google Shopping
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat
  • TikTok
  • Twitter
  • Wikipedia
  • YouTube
  • Zalando
  • Bing
  • Google Search

The new regulations include a ban on advertisements targeting users based on sensitive data, content moderation requirements, transparency rules, and protections for minors. The EC stated, “Platforms will have to identify, analyse and mitigate a wide array of systemic risks ranging from how illegal content and disinformation can be amplified on their services, to the impact on the freedom of expression and media freedom.” Companies must also assess and mitigate specific risks around gender-based violence online and the protection of minors’ mental health.

In addition to the new regulations, platforms will be required to redesign their systems to ensure the privacy, security, and safety of minors. Compliance with the Digital Services Act obligations must be externally and independently audited, and companies must provide researchers with access to data, publish repositories of ads served on their interfaces, and publish transparency reports on content moderation decisions and risk management.

European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton commented on the Digital Services Act, saying that European citizens and businesses will benefit from a safer internet. The Act is complemented by the EU’s Digital Markets Act, which imposes requirements on online “gatekeepers” to prevent them from stifling competition.

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