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European Union publishes list of “very large online platforms” subject to DSA

Starting from August 25, 2023, 19 tech giants will have to comply with significant regulatory requirements concerning data, problematic content and advertising

Digital transition - May 16, 2023

The European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, announced on April 25, 2023, a list of 19 “very large online platforms” subject to the Digital Services Act (DSA). Approved in 2022 at the same time as the Digital Market Act, the DSA intends to regulate content published on social media and products sold by online shopping sites.

In particular, the regulation includes a list of requirements for platforms with over 45 million active monthly users in the European Union, or 10% of its population. It requires social media to better moderate hateful, illegal content and disinformation. Market places must better authenticate online vendors.

Moreover, the DSA is placing a ban on advertising targeted at minors or relying on sensitive data (ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation…). The regulation also provides for auditing these platforms, particularly their recommendation algorithms.

These new rules will apply to platforms starting from August 25, 2023. “With great power comes great responsibility,” stated Thierry Breton, quoting Spiderman. Other requirements, which apply to all Internet users, will also come into force in early 2024.

There are no real surprises in the list. Fifteen players are American, including eleven belonging to Big Tech: five to Google (its search engine, the Play Store, Maps, Google Shopping and Youtube), two to Meta (Facebook and Instagram), two to Microsoft (Bing and LinkedIn), one to Apple (the App Store) and one to Amazon (its e-commerce website).

There are four other US platforms: Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and Wikipedia. The latter may come as somewhat of a surprise as it seems rather unaffected by most of the DSA’s measures. However its role as an informational reference, and the editing ideological battles waged there, justify monitoring by authorities

In addition to these US giants, there are two Chinese platforms, TikTok and AliExpress, and two European ones: the Dutch Booking.com and the German Zalando. The list thus includes eight social media or content-sharing platforms, five e-commerce websites, two app stores, two search engines, a geolocation app and an online encyclopedia.

According to Thierry Breton, “four or five” other services, suspected of having underestimated user numbers in Europe, could join them in the “coming weeks”. Pornhub, as well as other pornographic websites, could be among them.

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