This Friday marks the date that EU online content rules come into effect for tech giants such as Alphabet’s Google, Meta Platforms, Microsoft, Twitter, TikTok, and beyond – as EU industry chief Thierry Breton calls for the companies to “restore trust and safety in their platforms.”
The Digital Services Act (DSA) has set out a list of obligations for companies to undertake, which include performing risk management, conducting external and independent auditing, sharing data with authorities and researchers, and adopting a code of conduct. Requirements are more intense for platforms and search engines that have more than 45 million users, such as Booking.com, Pinterest, Snapchat, Wikipedia, Zalando, and AliExpress.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Breton said, “Complying with the DSA is not a punishment – it is an opportunity for these online platforms to reinforce their brand value and reputation as a trustworthy site.” Breton went on to state that “Child protection will be an enforcement priority, as will be fighting disinformation, including pro-Russian propaganda, in particular as we are entering a period of elections in Europe.” The DSA also requires the companies to be more transparent on their algorithmic processes, bots, and targeted ads.
Breton noted that he would use his full powers “to investigate and sanction platforms where warranted” emphasizing that the DSA is “an opportunity” to be embraced rather than an obligation to be dreaded.
The task of ensuring the safety and trustworthiness of online content is not one to be taken lightly. As highlighted by Breton, companies have until Friday to provide their first annual risk assessment to the European Commission. Action will now be taken to ensure that the new rules are fully enforced, and tech giants must comply and adapt to be part of the solution when it comes to safeguarding trust and safety.