The European Parliament has approved the Digital Services Act. The bill aims to combat the distribution of illegal content.
With the adoption of the Digital Services Act, the European Parliament (EP) hopes to improve the safety of online platforms within Europe. Among other things, the bill aims to ensure that what is illegal offline is also illegal online.
Combating illegal products, services and content
The Digital Services Act instates mechanisms for reporting illegal online activities and removing illegal online products, services and content. The latter includes the dissemination of disinformation. When hosting service providers receive a report about this, they must respond and take action as soon as possible.
In addition, the bill stipulates that reports are to be processed in an involuntary and non-discriminatory manner.
Special measures for American tech giants
The bill focuses mainly on large US tech platforms such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and Meta. The Digital Services Act includes special measures for these platforms. According to the European Commissioner and now the EP, bg tech poses particular risks in terms of harmful and illegal content distribution. The Digital Services Act imposes provisions on the organizations regarding mandatory risk assessments, risk mitigation measures, independent audits and the transparency of so-called ‘recommendation systems’.
Other measures from the Digital Services Act include transparency about how personal information is processed, a ban on targeted advertising to underage audiences and a ban on the use of dark pattern techniques. In addition, the bill offers more choices in algorithm-based rankings and compensation if companies fail to comply with the legislature.
Although the European Parliament has adopted the bill, its widespread adoption depends on a green light from the Council of Europe. The Council’s president has shown support and wants to get the bill passed in the first half of this year. After that, all member states will have to ratify the legislation and incorporate it into their national legislation.