15. December 2020

Commission proposal for the Digital Services Act first step to stop manipulative business model

Today, the European Commission has presented the Digital Services Act, which will set new rules for digital services and in particular market-dominant  companies like Facebook, Google and co. The long-awaited Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act are expected to harmonise the Digital Single Market, to create more control over online platforms and to ensure fair competition, but it falls short of expectations. On 21 October, MEPs had called on the EU Commission to present a clear legal framework for online platforms, to formulate guidelines for dealing with notifications of illegal content and to put an end to the arbitrary blocking and deleting of content by online platforms. Today’s announcement kicks off negotiations between the Commission and the European Parliament and Council.


“The world looks to Brussels and expects the DSA to change the digital world with global standards and stronger protections for civil rights. The business models of giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon must be the focus here, because the mechanisms they currently use to earn billions are threatening our democracy. Their potential to keep people’s attention on their sites for as long as possible promotes more and more extreme content, spreads fake news and conspiracy narratives and thereby massively harms our society.”


“The EU Commission makes many good proposals in the DSA. Stronger rights for users, risk assessments, external audits, access to data for vetted researchers, transparency rules for online advertising: these are all good and right approaches. However, it is questionable whether they solve the basic problem: the enormously lucrative business of displaying personalised advertising, which is based on spying on people in all areas of life.”


“The EU Parliament already goes much further in its recommendations by calling for a ban on behavioural advertising. I will continue to advocate for this, because this is the only way we will get back to fair competition and free and safe communications in the digital space.”


Further reading on the DSA:

  1. The DSA: #01 What it is and why it is important
  2. The DSA: #02 Why we need algorithmic transparency
  3. The DSA: #03 Ad tech: how targeted advertising harms the internet, the free press and our democracy
  4. The DSA: Part #04 Better connected through interoperability

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