In the early hours of Saturday, EU lawmakers reached a consensus that the world’s biggest tech companies could face billions of dollars in fines over breach of EU legislation.
Under the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), lawmakers will now identify the failure of tech companies to combat illegal content on their platforms. Noncompliance could result in a maximum of 6% of their global sales once the legislation goes into effect in early 2024.
Based on reports from 2021, Amazon could face a theoretical fine of up to $28 billion or Google as much as $16 billion.
Frances Haugen, a Facebook whistleblower, claims that the Digital Services Act could become a ‘global golden standard’ for regulating social platforms.
The key components of the Digital Services Act will include banning sensitive data used in targeted ads such as religious or racial content, banning targeting ads to minors, banning ‘dark patterns’ or tactics used to push people into consent to online tracking, and much more.
All websites will have to abide by the rules of the DSA. However, platforms with over 45 million users will abide by stricter rules and provide regular reports to regulators about illegal or harmful content on their websites.
EU’s competition chief, Margrethe Vestager, stated:
With the DSA, we help create a safe and accountable online environment. With today’s agreement, we ensure that platforms are held accountable for the risks their services can pose to society and citizens.
Google stated that it welcomed the rules of the DSA and was looking to “working with policymakers to get the remaining technical details right to ensure the law works for everyone.”
The United Kingdom also recently proposed the Online Safety Bill that imposes bigger fines and possible jail time for executives who fail to comply.