EU’s Breton urges Big Tech to use new online content rules to restore trust

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Alphabet’s Google, Meta Platforms, Microsoft, Twitter, TikTok and other tech giants should use EU online content rules that apply to them this Friday to restore trust and safety in their platforms, EU industry chief Thierry Breton said on Wednesday.

The rules known as the Digital Services Act (DSA) require the companies to perform risk management, conduct external and independent auditing, share data with authorities and researchers and adopt a code of conduct.

Obligations for the companies, which also include, Pinterest, Snap Inc’s Snapchat, Wikipedia, Zalando and Alibaba’s AliExpress are more onerous than others because they have more than 45 million users.

These very large online platforms and very large online search engines have until Friday to provide their first annual risk assessment to the European Commission.

“Complying with the DSA is not a punishment – it is an opportunity for these online platforms to reinforce their brand value and reputation as a trustworthy site,” Breton said in a statement.

“Child protection will be an enforcement priority, as will be fighting disinformation, including pro-Russian propaganda, in particular as we are entering a period of elections in Europe,” he said.

The DSA also forces the companies to be more transparent on their algorithmic processes, bots and targeted advertisements that amplify content and do more to tackle illegal, unsafe or counterfeit products sold on their platforms.

Breton, who can hand out fines up to 6% of a company’s global turnover for violations, said he would not hesitate to act.

“My services and I will thoroughly enforce the DSA, and fully use our new powers to investigate and sanction platforms where warranted,” he said.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)