Europe to slap new regulations on Big Tech, beating U.S. to the punch


European policymakers reached a deal early Saturday in Brussels on a sweeping new law to force the world’s largest tech companies to more aggressively police their platforms for illegal content, paving the way for one of the most expansive regulations to date to address a broad range of harms caused by social networks, shopping websites and search engines.

The legislation, called the Digital Services Act, would impose new transparency obligations on the companies, forcing them to provide information to regulators and outside researchers about how algorithms that control what people see on their sites work. It also creates new regulations around how companies target online ads.

The agreement solidifies a two-bill plan, which also includes the Digital Markets Act, a competition bill that would establish new rules to prevent “gatekeepers” from abusing their power to squash smaller rivals. Both bills await votes from the Parliament and policymakers from the 27 countries in the union, which are widely viewed as a formality.

“The Digital Services Act will make sure that what is illegal offline is also seen & dealt with as illegal online — not as a slogan, as reality! And always protecting freedom of expression!” tweeted Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s top digital enforcer.

The agreement followed 16 hours of negotiations that stretched into the early morning in Brussels.


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