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EU agrees rules to regulate social media content

1.5.2022 10:55
--ilustrační foto--
--ilustrační foto--

Negotiators for the European Parliament and EU Member States agreed on Saturday, April 23, to the new rules for content regulation on the Internet. Big technology companies such as META or Google will have to check content more efficiently on their platforms and, if it is contrary to the law, remove it immediately. 

If they do not do so vigorously, they will face fines of up to billions of dollars. Especially hateful manifestations should be removed faster.

The European Parliament and EU Member States have yet to officially approve the agreement, which is groundbreaking. However, the approval is considered a formality.

The Digital Services Act (DSA) is the second point of the strategy being pursued by European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager aimed at limiting the power of technology giants. The agreement was concluded after more than 16 hours of negotiations.

"We have an agreement on DSA: The Digital Services Act will ensure that what is illegal offline is considered and dealt with as illegal online - not as a slogan, as a reality," Vestager posted on Twitter. MEP Dita Charanz, Vice President of the European Parliament, welcomed the agreement on new rules for Internet content. 

MEP Charanz said the Internet will also become a safer place now thanks to her proposal for an additional measure to prevent advertising from being aimed at children online. She said the DSA constitutes the greatest legislative interference with the Internet environment in 20 years, but while the regulations tighten requirements especially for the Internet giants, it does not unnecessarily burden any of the smaller companies in the online environment.

"I am glad that my proposal for additional measures for greater protection of children was adopted," MEP Charanz said in a statement sent to the Czech News Agency. Under the DSA, platform operators are at risk of a fine of up to six percent of their worldwide turnover for violation of the rules. 

In the case of META, which owns Facebook, violations of rules could result in a fine of around USD 7 billion, based on last year's turnover. In case of repeated breaches, operators could be forbidden to do business in the EU.

The DSA aims, among other things, to ensure that illegal content such as hate speech is removed more quickly from the Internet, to ensure harmful misinformation and propaganda during wartime will be less shared, and to ensure fewer sales of counterfeit products on Internet markets. It is part of a big digital package proposed by the European Commission (EC) in December 2020. 

Its other part is the Digital Markets Act (DMA), where agreement was concluded at the end of March. The aim of the DMA is to reduce the market power of technological giants such as Google and Facebook (now Meta).

How the EU will manage these new rules in practice is not yet clear, according to the CNBC news website. Critics claim the introduction of such measures creates a technical burden on companies and raises questions about what is and is not acceptable in the online environment.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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European Commission, EU, Facebook, Google



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