The European Union has finalised new legislation to require Big Tech to remove harmful content and the move will have global repercussions sooner or later.
The objective of Digital Services Act (DSA) is to ensure tougher consequences for platforms and websites that host list of banned content, ranging from hate speech to disinformation and child sexual abuse images. If companies fail to do so, they will risk billions of dollars in fines.
The DSA is different from the DMA or Digital Markets Act, though both affect the tech world. DMA focuses on creating a level playing field between businesses, while the DSA deals with how companies police content on their platforms. It is the latter that will have a bigger impact on Internet users.
Though the legislation will apply to EU citizens, for global tech companies it is more cost-effective to implement a single strategy. As for lawmakers in the US, they are also looking to the EU’s rules for inspiration.
“Platforms should be transparent about their content moderation decisions, prevent dangerous disinformation from going viral and avoid unsafe products being offered on marketplaces,” said Margrethe Vestager, who has spearheaded much of the bloc’s work to regulate the tech industry as the executive vice-president of the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union.
Some of the obligations listed by The Verge include…
• Targeted advertising based on an individuals’ religion, sexual orientation, or ethnicity is banned. Plus, minors cannot be subject to targeted advertising either.
• Cancelling subscriptions should be as easy as signing up for them.
• Platforms will have to make their recommendation algorithms transparent to users.
• Offering explanation for removing illegal content, as well as giving users the ability to appeal such takedowns.
• Online marketplaces need to keep information about traders to track down individuals selling illegal goods or services.