Among other things, these organizations fall under the scope of the Act on Digital Services.
The European Commission has named the 17 Very Large Online Platforms (VLOPs) and 2 Very Large Online Search Engines (VLOSEs) that are subject to the Digital Services Act. The Commission said these companies are being selected because they have more than 45 million monthly active users.
Companies that will have to comply with the strict new rules, discussed below, include: Alibaba AliExpress, Amazon Store, Apple AppStore, Booking.com, Facebook, Google Play, Google Maps, Google Shopping, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest , Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, Wikipedia, YouTube, Zalando, Bing and Google Search. The last two are VLOSEs and the rest are VLOPs.
Now that they have been designated, they must comply with the following rules within the next four months:
Multiple user authorizations:
• Users will be clearly informed about why certain information is recommended to them and will have the right to opt out of recommendation systems based on profiling;
• Users will be able to easily report illegal content and platforms will have to process such reports carefully;
• Ads cannot be displayed based on the user’s sensitive data (for example, ethnic origin, political opinion or sexual orientation);
• Platforms must list all advertisements and inform users about who is promoting them;
• The platforms must prepare a summary of their general terms and conditions in the language of the member states where they operate, in an easily understandable language.
• Strong protection of minors:
• Targeted advertising aimed at children, based on profiling, is no longer allowed;
• Specific risk assessments, including negative effects on mental health, must be submitted to the Commission 4 months after designation and made public no later than one year later;
More diligent content moderation, less disinformation:
• Platforms and search engines must take measures to address the risks associated with the spread of illegal content online and the negative impact on freedom of expression and information;
• Platforms must have clear terms and enforce them strictly and not arbitrarily;
• Platforms should have a mechanism for users to report illegal content and act quickly on notifications;
• Platforms must analyze their specific risks and take mitigating measures – for example, against the spread of disinformation and inauthentic use of their services.
Greater transparency and accountability:
• Platforms must ensure that their risk assessments and compliance with DSA obligations are externally and independently audited;
• They must provide researchers with access to publicly available data; later, a separate mechanism will be created for verified researchers; they must publish the repository of all advertisements served on their interface;
• Platforms must publish transparency reports on content moderation decisions and risk management.
The digital services law will be enforced by a “pan-European supervisory structure”. It consists of a Committee overseeing designated platforms and search engines, but also includes national digital service coordinators. DSCs will also be responsible for monitoring smaller platforms and search engines.
Because of the strict rules, platforms and search engines will have a lot of work to do to meet the necessary regulations. No penalties were outlined in the filing, but last year Neowin reported that companies that break the rules can be fined up to 6 percent of their global turnover.
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