Today, the European Union through the European Parliament announced that the Digital Services Law (DSA) and the Digital Markets Law (DMA) were approved. Both proposals will be established in order to transform the online market in European territory. In this way, the European Parliament became the first jurisdiction in the world to establish rules to regulate the market in the digital world.
The main objective of the DSA is: to protect the fundamental rights of all citizens of the European Union in the digital territory. While the objective that is planned to be achieved with the DMA is: to establish a fair market that allows all participants to innovate, grow and compete inside and outside the European Union.
Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, who proposed both laws, commented that the essential thing is to be able to have access to the “black boxes” (algorithms) of social networks. “It will allow us to access the information we need to ensure that the platforms are complying with the regulations.” “Likewise, authorized researchers will have access to the data to carry out research that supports our control tasks,” he commented on his blog. In addition, Breton made a call to Musk after the purchase of Twitter: “If you want Twitter to work in Europe, you will abide by our rules.”
Put that way, the DSA hopes to protect user privacy, increase transparency around the algorithms used by social media, and of course further protect minors. ‘What is illegal offline is also illegal online,’ commented Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. So, with the new law approved, the European Union and the member states will be able to supervise the algorithms used by the big social networks and the content that is disseminated by users.
It is no secret to anyone that social networks like Instagram, TikTok and Twitter work with a content recommendation system. Now, with the new laws, social networks must offer an option that does not take into account user preferences. That is, they must have an option that is not based on the content that each user generally consumes. That being said, social networks should allow their consumers to opt out of any algorithm that shows or hides content based on their preferences.
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Goodbye polarization and disinformation
In addition, the big tech companies will have to justify the recommendations that polarize or misinform their users. Its analyzes and reports will not be enough, but rather the EC will be the one to audit and assess whether the content generates a negative impact on European citizens. To this end, platforms will also be prohibited from manipulating their users’ decisions with “dark tactics” such as one button larger than another at convenience. Likewise, the law also obliges social networks to make the subscription cancellation process as fast and simple as the subscription itself.
Finally, in order to protect minors, any platform that allows access to minors must offer them a single space without advertising. Likewise, it will not be allowed to collect information on the use preferences of minors; thus an advertising profile cannot be created around children.
Finally, Europe will be one of the continents where the big platforms will be watched and where they will not be able to continue operating as they did until now. The measures will be applied in all parts of Europe; They will come into force on January 1, 2024 and it will be the affected companies that finance the execution of the laws. Meanwhile, the Commission, protected by the DSA, may apply supervision fees to large platforms and search engines to cover the costs of supervision. Those companies that violate any of the points of the DSA must pay a fine of up to 6% of the company’s global income. If an infringement occurs again, the platform will be banned on European territory.
Image: Thierry Breton