The world’s tech giants are among 19 firms the EU says are subject to new content regulations.
Europe’s Digital Services Act (DSA) requires these companies to share data with authorities, adhere to a code of conduct, and carry out risk management and independent auditing.
“We consider these 19 online platforms and search engines have become systemically relevant and have special responsibilities to make the internet safer,” Thierry Breton, the European Commission’s industry chief, told reporters, per a Tuesday (April 25) report by Reuters.
The companies in question are: Google Search, Google Maps, Google Shopping, Google Play and YouTube, all owned by Alphabet; Facebook and Instagram, both owned by Meta Platforms; Bing and Linkedin from Microsoft; the Amazon Marketplace and the Apple App Store.
According to the report, Breton focused on Facebook’s content moderation system for criticism due to the platform’s role in shaping public opinion on important issues.
“Now that Facebook has been designated as a very large online platform, Meta needs to carefully investigate the system and fix it where needed ASAP,” he said.
Breton also mentioned Twitter and TikTok, saying his team — “at the invasion of Elon Musk” – would carry out a live stress test at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters.
Earlier this year, a number of the companies Breton listed released monthly active user (MAU) numbers to comply with the DSA.
The law requires online platforms and search engines to publish their monthly active users to show whether they meet the threshold — 45 million users — at which they are considered “very large online platforms” (VLOPs) and, therefore subject to DSA rules for risk management, auditing, data sharing and a code of conduct.
Companies that crossed that threshold included Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Bing.
The EU’s latest action came two days after reports that the U.K. was establishing a regulator to oversee Big Tech firms like Google and Amazon.
Proposed legislation would make the new unit an arm of the country’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and give it powers specifically to go after giant tech companies.
The Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill will give the regulator authority over tech companies that generate at least 25 billion pounds ($202 billion) in worldwide turnover (or 1 billion pounds in the U.K.), per a report by the Financial Times.
As the FT reported, the regulator would only target companies with “entrenched power” in at least one digital market. Companies that violated the regulator’s regulations could face fines of up to 10% of their global turnover.