Good morning dear readers of Tecnogalaxy, today we will talk about Google and Meta, which will have to explain the operation of their algorithm to the EU.

The EU has agreed another piece of legislation to monitor the online world.


After hours of negotiations, we agreed on the general terms of the Digital Services Act, or DSA, which will force tech companies to take greater responsibility for the content that appears on their platforms. New obligations include faster removal of illegal content and goods, explaining to users and researchers how their algorithms work, and taking stricter measures on spreading misinformation. Companies risk fines of up to 6% of their annual turnover for non-compliance.

The DSA will update the basic rules for all online services in the EU“, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in a statement. “It gives practical effect to the principle that what is illegal offline should be illegal online“.

Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition who led much of the block’s technological regulation, said the act “will ensure that platforms are held accountable for the risks that their services may pose to society and citizens”.

The DSA should not be confused with the DMA or Digital Markets Act, which was agreed in March. Both acts affect this industry, but DMA focuses on creating a level playing field between companies while the DSA deals with how companies control content on their platforms. The DSA will therefore likely have a more immediate impact on users.

Although the legislation only applies to EU citizens, the effect of these laws will certainly be felt elsewhere in the world. Global technology companies may decide that it is more convenient to implement a single strategy to control content and take EU relatively strict regulations as a benchmark. Legislators in the US eager to rein in big tech with their regulations have already begun to look to EU rules as inspiration.


The final text of the DSA has yet to be published, but the European Parliament and the European Commission have detailed a number of obligations which will include:

  • Targeted advertising based on an individual’s religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity is prohibited. Children may not be targeted.
  • Confusing or deceptive user interfaces designed to guide users to make certain choices – will be prohibited. The EU says that, as a rule, canceling subscriptions should be as easy as registering them.
  • Large online platforms like Facebook will need to make the operation of their recommendation algorithms transparent to users (used to sort content in the news feed or suggest TV shows on Netflix). Users should also be offered a “non-profiling” recommendation system. In the case of Instagram, for example, this would mean a chronological feed (as recently introduced ).
  • Hosting services and online platforms should clearly explain why they have removed illegal content and give users the opportunity to appeal against such removals.
  • The largest online platforms will need to provide key data to researchers to “provide more information on how online risks evolve“.
  • Online markets need to keep basic information about merchants on their platform to track down people who sell illegal goods or services.
  • The big platforms will also have to introduce new strategies to deal with disinformation during crises (a provision inspired by the recent invasion of Ukraine).
  • The DSA, like DMA, will distinguish between technology companies of different sizes, imposing greater obligations on larger companies. Larger companies, such as Meta and Google, will face more scrutiny. These technology companies have exerted strong pressure to mitigate the requirements of the DSA, in particular those relating to targeted advertising and the delivery of data to external researchers.

Although the general terms of the DSA have now been agreed by EU Member States, the legal language has yet to be finalised and the act officially voted into law. However, this last step is seen as a formality at this point. The rules will apply to all companies 15 months after the vote in the law of the act, or from 1 January 2024.

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