Wednesday May 25, 2022

Lawmakers vote to end ‘Wild West’ online

January 21, 2022

STRASBOURG, France: The European Parliament on Thursday approved a proposal to impose unprecedented curbs on content online, including bans on the most intrusive methods of advertising, in a blow to Google and Facebook.

Lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in favour of their version of the Digital Services Act (DSA), which is aimed at ensuring tougher consequences for platforms and websites that violate a long list of rules on content.

The DSA is a companion text to the EU’s Digital Markets Act, which is specifically focused on the tech behemoths like Meta/Facebook, Alphabet/Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft. EU member states in November already approved their own version of both laws, and highly delicate negotiations will now take place to reconcile the legislative texts.

"The largest platforms can no longer hide behind a veil of ignorance," Danish MEP Christel Schaldemose, who spearheaded the law through parliament, said after its adoption. "They’ll be forced to face up to the consequences of their algorithms," she said, calling the law a new "gold standard" in tech regulation.

Big tech companies that violate the rules face fines of as much as six percent of their global sales. "What happens on the internet, parents see it, it’s the Wild West," said EU commissioner Thierry Breton, who tabled the original proposal in December 2020. "We don’t know what kids are doing anymore... harassment, hate speech, attacks on democracy, personal attacks, counterfeit products."