Europe reaches historic agreement

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This weekend, after sixteen hours of exchange, the European Union has found a provisional agreement on the draft legislation of digital giants. Indeed, the Commission, the Parliament and the European Council have agreed on the content of the DSA (Digital Service Act), which complements the DMA (Digital Market Act) adopted last month, which is dedicated to anti-competitive practices in digital markets. This regulation stands like a wall against Gafam and has been qualified by Ursula von der Leyen as a « historic » moment.

The DSA’s key areas of action

The text should make the main digital platforms accountable by forcing them to remove illegal content and to cooperate with the authorities. It will impose new rules for moderating content published online, for example by obliging social networks to quickly remove illegal messages and to suspend users who « frequently » violate the law. The text will also require marketplaces to check the identity of sellers and to fight against fraud. It also prohibits targeted advertising aimed at minors or at sensitive data, such as ethnic origin, sexual orientation or religious beliefs. 

The DSA aims at conducting annual audits of major platforms, and in case of noncompliance, fines can go up to 6% of global turnover.

Fighting the dark side of the Internet

The main objective of the DSA is to put an end to lawlessness and abuse on the Internet by fighting against calls to murder, pedophile images, disinformation campaigns or counterfeit products. Indeed, the abuses of social networks have often been in the news.

Among those abuses, one can recall the assassination of history professor Samuel Paty in France, after a hate campaign in October 2020 or the assault of demonstrators on the Capitol in the United States in January 2021, both partly planned thanks to Facebook and Twitter.

Targeting the gafams

Above all, new obligations are now imposed on « very large platforms », those with more than 45 million active users in the European Union. That is to say about twenty companies, including Gafam (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft), as well as Twitter, and surely TikTok and Booking.com. For example, they will be required to be more transparent about their data and recommendation algorithms.

An agreement that will make an impact 

American whistleblower Frances Haugen, who denounced Facebook’s passivity in the face of the nuisance of its social networks, had hailed in November the « enormous potential » of the DSA that could become a « reference » for other countries, including the United States. 

In the context of the war in Ukraine and the disinformation campaigns it fosters, lawmakers have added « a crisis response mechanism », the European Council said. Activated by decision of the Commission, it will allow for « proportionate and effective » measures to be taken against very large platforms that contribute to spreading false news.

Why does it matter for Agnostik and Didomi? 

The agreement as a whole will benefit the two companies, by both facilitating and legitimizing their work. In particular, the handling of the issue of minors’ consent and dark patterns will allow the companies to gain efficiency and improve their services. 

 

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