EU Digital Services Law Comes into Effect on Friday


The European Union's Digital Services Law is set to come into effect on Friday, compelling social media platforms like Google, Facebook, and TikTok to take stricter measures against posts containing false information and hate speech under the threat of hefty fines.

This law holds significant importance as it is a part of the European Union's legal arsenal aimed at coercing technology companies to comply with and impose a system that officials describe as a "digital Wild West."

The Digital Services Law mandates companies to monitor digital content more rigorously, protecting internet users from false information and hate speech, or else facing the risk of substantial fines.

Starting from Friday, all eyes will be on how platforms comply and how this law will change the digital landscape in Europe, with experts predicting it could lead to ripple effects beyond the bloc.

According to Susan Vernier, a technology law professor at the National Institute of Arts and Crafts in Paris, "The Digital Services Law is part of a larger strategy to grant individuals, regulatory authorities, and civil society more authority."

She told Agence France-Presse, "It's a further step toward more accountability."

Under the Digital Services Law, platforms with at least 45 million monthly active users are required to adhere to stricter regulations, including effectively combating false information.

In April, the European Union named 19 websites subject to the new law, including prominent platforms like Amazon Store, Apple Store, Google Play, Zalando, as well as major social media platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, and Twitter (now known as "X").

**Rush to Comply**

Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner overseeing the digital market, stated that companies "have sufficient time to adjust their systems to their new obligations."

He elaborated to Agence France-Presse, "I and the available tools will fully apply the Digital Services Law, and we will use all our new powers to investigate and penalize platforms when necessary."

This has become evident through the changes some companies announced this summer.

In August, both Meta and TikTok announced steps they will take to comply with the law, including providing European users with more control over how they see content, including an option to opt out of pattern-based recommendations.

The European Union will particularly scrutinize Meta (formerly Facebook) since billionaire Elon Musk acquired Twitter last year and made content-related decisions that raised compliance concerns.

Breton had previously warned Musk, who launched a campaign to reduce platform costs, that Meta needed adequate resources to curb dangerous content.

Meanwhile, Google stated that it didn't wait for the Digital Services Law to come into effect and has implemented policies aimed at achieving greater transparency and accountability.

**Fines and Future Legislation**

European Union officials have indicated that more companies could be added to the list.

Violations of the regulations could result in fines of up to 6% of a company's global revenue or even a ban.

Additionally, another law dedicated to major technology companies is on the horizon for the European Union.

Next month, the bloc will identify technology companies subject to stricter competition rules under the new Digital Markets Act.

In July, Brussels published a list of "gatekeeper" companies, including Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Google, Meta, Microsoft, and Samsung.

These companies will face additional rules, including not being allowed to pre-install apps on phones or redirect users to their products.

Companies violating the Digital Markets Act could be fined up to 10% of their global annual revenue.

**A Spectrum of Legislation**

The Digital Services Law and the Digital Markets Act are not the European Union's first attempts to regulate technology companies.

In 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect, leading to a radical change in how companies handle user data and imposing fines for violations.

Brussels is also working on issuing the world's first law regulating artificial intelligence.

While the impact of the Digital Services Law may be limited to Europe, Vernier believes its effects could be felt beyond the bloc.

She explained, "I think its impact will be similar to the impact of the GDPR, but that will take years."

On the other hand, Mark Mousse, a prominent lawyer at August Debouzy in Paris, stated that since "platforms will use these tools globally, there's no reason to deprive users outside of Europe of them."

Mark Zuckerberg Expresses Optimism Regarding the Future of Threads

The Boston Celtics Achieve 30-Win Milestone this Season by Defeating the New Orleans Pelicans