Several of the world’s leading technology companies are now under unprecedented legal scrutiny as the European Union’s comprehensive Digital Services Act (DSA) comes into force, introducing new rules on content moderation, user privacy, and transparency.
From Friday, numerous internet behemoths, including Facebook, Instagram, Apple’s online App Store, and a range of Google services, will face these new obligations within the EU. The regulations focus primarily on enhancing online user protection and curbing the spread of harmful and illegal content that breaches platform terms of service.
The DSA also prohibits targeted advertising towards vulnerable demographics, particularly children, based on their online activities.
The EU is widely seen as a global forerunner in tech regulation, with an expansive roster of legislations, such as the Digital Markets Act and the forthcoming Artificial Intelligence Act. Reuters suggests that the EU’s success in implementing such laws will influence the adoption of similar regulations globally.
For now, these rules apply exclusively to the largest online platforms, specifically those with over 45 million users within the EU. So far, this encompasses eight social media platforms: Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Snapchat, as well as five online retailers: Amazon, Booking, AliExpress, Zalando, and the mobile app stores Google Play and App Store. It also includes Google Search, Google Maps, Microsoft’s Bing search engine, and Wikipedia.
However, from mid-February, the regulations will extend to various online platforms, irrespective of their size.
Companies violating the provisions of this act could face financial penalties amounting to six percent of their revenue, which could translate to fines in the billions of euros. More severe sanctions may even include a complete ban on operating within the European Union.