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EU completes historic reform against digital jungle

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This agreement is historicwelcomed the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen on Twitter, our new rules will protect users online, ensure freedom of expression and opportunities for business.

The Digital Services Regulation (Digital Services ActDSA) is one of the two parts of a major plan presented in December 2020 by the Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, and her counterpart in the Internal Market, Thierry Breton.

The first part, the regulation on digital markets (Digital Markets Act, DMA), which tackles anti-competitive practices, was concluded at the end of March. the Digital Services Act, he updates the e-commerce directive, born 20 years ago when the giant platforms were still embryonic. Objective: to put an end to areas of lawlessness and abuse on the Internet.

the Digital Services Act also prohibits the use of data on political opinions for advertising targeting purposes.

Increasingly significant adverse effects

Protesters invade the Capitol despite the smoke of tear gas.

The assault on the Capitol in January, which killed five people in all, was widely organized on Facebook in various user groups.

Photo: Reuters/Leah Millis

The excesses of social networks have often hit the headlines. Assassination of history professor Samuel Paty in France, after a hate campaign in October 2020, assault of demonstrators on the Capitol in the United States in January 2021, partly planned thanks to Facebook and Twitter…

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The dark side of the Internet also concerns sales platforms invaded by counterfeit or defective products, which can be dangerous, such as children’s toys that do not meet safety standards.

At the heart of the project, new obligations imposed on very large platformsthose counting45million active users”,”text”:”over 45million active users”}}’>more than 45 million active users in L’European Unionor around twenty companies, the list of which remains to be determined, but which will include GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft), as well as Twitter, and perhaps TikTok or Booking.

These players must themselves assess the risks associated with the use of their services and put in place the appropriate means to remove problematic content. They will be imposed increased transparency on their data and recommendation algorithms.

They will be audited once a year by independent bodies and placed under the supervision of the European Commission, which may impose fines of up to 6% of their annual sales in the event of repeated infringements.

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Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and the disinformation campaigns it fosters, lawmakers added crisis response mechanism, said the European Council. Activated by decision of the Commission, it will make it possible to take measures proportionate and efficient against very large platforms that would help spread fake news.

The new regulation stipulates the obligation to withdraw promptly any illegal content (according to national and European laws) as soon as a platform becomes aware of it. It forces social networks to suspend users violating frequently the law.

the Digital Services Act will force online sales sites to verify the identity of their suppliers before offering their products. It prohibits misleading interfaces (dark pattern“,”text”:”dark pattern”}}’>dark pattern) that push Internet users towards certain account settings or certain paid services.

This text is a world first in terms of digital regulationunderlined the Council of theEuropean Union, which represents the 27 member states, in a statement. He enshrines the principle that what is illegal offline must also be illegal online.

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