EU's Sweeping DSA Imposes New Rules On Content Moderation

A number of internet giants, including Meta’s Facebook and Instagram platforms, Apple’s online App Store, and a few Google services, will be subject to new regulations in the EU.

EU's Sweeping DSA Imposes New Rules On Content Moderation

The comprehensive Digital Services Act (DSA) of the European Union imposes new rules on content moderation, user privacy, and transparency, putting more than a dozen of the largest internet businesses in the world under unheard-of judicial scrutiny.

A number of internet giants, including Meta‘s (META.O) Facebook and Instagram platforms, Apple’s online App Store, and a few Google (GOOGL.O) services, will be subject to new regulations in the EU starting on Friday. These regulations include preventing the spread of harmful content, prohibiting or restricting certain user-targeting techniques, and sharing some internal data with regulators and related researchers.

With other comprehensive pieces of legislation, including the Digital Markets Act and the AI Act, on the horizon, the EU is regarded as the global leader in digital regulation. The implementation of comparable legislation across the world will be influenced by how successfully the bloc implements these rules on content moderation, user privacy, and transparency.

Researchers have questioned whether these businesses have gone above and beyond what is required of them by the law.

19 of the biggest online sites, which have more than 45 million users in the EU, are the only ones to whom the laws now apply. They will, however, be applicable to all online platforms, regardless of size, starting in the middle of February.

Any company found to be in violation of the DSA is subject to a punishment of up to 6% of its annual global revenue, and persistent violators risk being completely barred from conducting business in Europe.

Reuters enquired about the modifications made by each entity designated under the DSA. Most declined to speak more or did not react at all, pointing to relevant public blog entries.

E-commerce behemoth Amazon (AMZN.O) and German fashion retailer Zalando (ZALG.DE) are the two businesses picked out for early regulation, and both are now fighting their placement on the list in court.

Platforms will likely battle tenaciously to uphold their policies, predicted Kingsley Hayes, director of data and privacy litigation at Keller Postman. “Especially when new compliance requirements infringe on their fundamental business models.”

The European Commission said that it had volunteered to do DSA “stress tests” using the 19 platforms over the previous six months.

These assessments evaluated the platforms’ capacity to “detect, address and mitigate systemic risks, such as disinformation,” according to a Commission representative.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Snapchat are just a few of the sites that have taken part in such studies. The Commission stated that greater effort was required in each instance to get ready for the DSA.

Research from the nonprofit Eko revealed on Thursday that Facebook was still approving internet advertising with problematic content moderation even after the rules went into force.

The organisation sought permission for 13 advertisements that had undesirable content, including one that encouraged violence against immigrants and another that advocated for the death of a prominent Member of the European Parliament (MEP).

According to Eko, Facebook rejected five of the submitted advertisements and accepted eight of them within a day. Before they were released, the advertisements were deleted by the researchers, so no Facebook users saw them.

The Eko research was met with a statement from Meta that said, “This report was based on a very small sample of ads and is not representative of the number of ads we review daily across the world.”

Another group, Global Witness, said last year that commercials encouraging violence against the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) population in Ireland had been authorized on Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube.

Hate speech is not allowed on Meta or TikTok, according to the companies, who also claim to continuously examine and enhance their policies. Google made no comment.

In July, Amazon and Zalando filed a legal challenge with the General Court in Luxembourg disputing their placement on the list, claiming that bigger competitors in these nations had not been identified. A disobedience of the DSA has not been declared by any of the designated firms.

New features have been added to the DSA compliance program, such as a new avenue for users to report inaccurate product information. Zalando, a retailer of clothing, contested the legal claim made against its platform, claiming that its 31 million active monthly users meant it did not meet the 45 million user requirement.

Hayes cautions that it will be obvious if any designated corporations have neglected their legal commitments since platforms with big user bases would find it difficult to fulfill these requirements.