Brussels War propaganda, lies, hatred and hate speech – soon there will be less of all of this on the Internet. The EU passed a revolutionary law. The last round of negotiations was tough.
In the future, social networks such as Facebook and other internet platforms will have to comply with uniform rules across the EU, for example when it comes to eliminating hate speech and other illegal content.
On Saturday morning in Brussels, negotiators from the European Parliament and EU states agreed on a Digital Services Act (DSA), which aims to ensure stricter supervision of online platforms and greater consumer protection. It took a full 16 hours for the final round of negotiations. Reactions to the deal were mostly positive.
Ursula von der Leyen: historical agreement
The president of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen spoke of a historic agreement. “Our new rules will protect online users, ensure freedom of expression and open up new opportunities for businesses.” This is a strong signal for people, companies and countries around the world.
Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP) said: “The law on digital services also protects freedom of expression in the digital sphere. For example, platforms are not allowed to delete posts arbitrarily and must review their deletion decisions upon request. ” At the same time, platforms shouldn’t accept that their services are misused to spread criminal content. “Death threats, aggressive insults and calls for violence are not expressions of freedom of expression, but attacks on free and open speech”.
Buschmann’s cabinet colleague in charge of digital affairs, Volker Wissing, spoke of a milestone for citizens. “DSA creates greater security in the digital space, strengthens user rights and sets clear, international standards for regulating online platforms.” They are now more responsible for the publication and integrity of goods and services.
Hate speech from the internet faster
Among other things, the DSA is intended to ensure that illegal content such as hate speech is removed from the internet faster after proper notification, harmful disinformation and war propaganda are shared less and less produced. counterfeits are sold on online marketplaces. To do this, platforms like Instagram need to make their recommendation algorithms more transparent for the first time.
The basic principle is: what is illegal offline should also be online. Digital service providers should benefit from legal certainty and uniform rules across the EU. Large platforms and search engines with at least 45 million users have to follow far more rules than smaller ones.
The European Parliament and EU states still have to agree
Saturday’s agreement needs to be confirmed again by the European Parliament and EU states. This is considered a formality. After its entry into force, a transitional period of 15 months applies. For very large platforms and search engines, the rules should apply four months after their designation.
Christoph Heubner, executive vice president of the Auschwitz International Committee, sees a great opportunity in the DSA. For Holocaust survivors, this is an “extremely clear sign of hope,” but one that must be tested in reality. “If the principle” what is illegal offline should also be illegal online “is applied, decisive gains would be made for social interaction and the fight against racist and anti-Semitic hatred, as well as fascist war propaganda.
Limiting the market power of the tech giants
The DSA is part of a broad digital package proposed by the EU Commission in December 2020. The second part is the Digital Markets Act (DMA), approved at the end of March. Most importantly, DMA is meant to limit the market power of tech giants like Google and Facebook with stricter rules.
The Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) is already in place in Germany to combat crime and hate speech on the Internet. This should largely be replaced by the DSA.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220422-99-997912 / 6