France’s Macron tells Google and Microsoft to embrace EU rules

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President Emmanuel Macron has a warning for some of the big tech companies. He wants them to get on board with the European Union’s efforts to regulate the tech industry.

In a call with Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, and Alphabet’s CEO Sundar Pichai on Monday, Macron told them that any unfair practices would be seen as an attack on European democracy.

Spokespeople for the companies have yet to comment about this. France has been one of the key players in shaping the EU’s efforts to prevent the spread of hate speech and disinformation online while also curbing big tech’s power.

The impending Acts

The European Commission proposed two sets of rules in December. One of them is the Digital Services Act, and the other is the Digital Markets Act. They are under review by the European Parliament and member states before they pass into law.

The Digital Services Act will force platforms like Microsoft and Google to comply with orders to remove illegal content or face fines as high as 6% of their respective global revenue.

The companies will have to monitor their platforms to find solutions for risks identified, including the manipulation of their services by inauthentic accounts that could impact elections.

Putting the genie in a bottle

The Digital Markets Act will bam powerful companies, called gatekeepers, from favoring their own products or face billion-dollar fines. In some extreme cases, they may be ordered to break up their European businesses.

EU officials are rallying around calls to block hate speech and disinformation, especially after Trump easily managed to incite a mob that then proceeded to storm the Capitol building.

Angela Merkel has been among those who have warned that private companies should not be left to decide for themselves how to police content.