The EU Commission has announced 19 large online platforms and search engines that will face new content moderation rules under the Digital Services Act.
The legislation, passed last year, introduced a specific regime for Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) and Very Large Online Search Engines (VLOSEs), all of which have more than 45 million users in the EU.
Amazon Store, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, Wikipedia and YouTube are just some of the 17 companies the EU Commission designated VLOP in its announcement Tuesday. The VLOSEs are Bing and Google Search.
The companies listed by the Commission will be required to comply with the full set of new obligations under the DSA by August 25. Those obligations include: various features meant to empower users, such as the right to opt-out from recommendation systems based on profiling; strengthening protection of minors; more diligent content moderation policies to help reduce disinformation; and greater transparency and accountability.
By the August deadline, the designated platforms and search engines will need to show the EU Commission that they have successfully adapted their systems, resources, and processes to become compliant, set up an independent system of compliance, and have carried out and reported their first annual risk assessment to the Commission.
Failure to comply with the DSA will result in fines of up to 6% of a company’s global turnover.
The DSA was approved by the European Parliament in April 2022 and sets out new rules for how internet companies should keep European users safe from online disinformation and illegal content, goods and services.
New EU rules for internet giants
In addition to defining obligations to protect children and tackle disinformation, the legislation bans the practice of targeting users online based on their religion, gender or sexual preferences, so-called dark patterns to trick users, and deceptive web design aimed at encouraging people to unwillingly click on online content.
“The whole logic of our rules is to ensure that technology serves people and the societies that we live in — not the other way around,” said Margrethe Vestager, the Commission's competition commissioner, said in comments posted alongside the announcement. “The Digital Services Act will bring about meaningful transparency and accountability of platforms and search engines and give consumers more control over their online life. The designations made today are a huge step forward to making that happen.”