Large platforms like X, Facebook and Instagram are now required to be compliant with the EU’s draconian Digital Services Act censorship law, which appears set to become the global standard and enable the European Commission to censor the internet. Dr. Normal Lewis writes about the seemingly unstoppable reforms in Spiked.
Not many people know that November 16th 2022 was the day that freedom of speech died on the internet. This was the day the European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA) came into law. Under the DSA, very large online platforms (VLOPs) with more than 45 million monthly active users – like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – will have to swiftly remove illegal content, hate speech and so-called disinformation from their platforms. Or they will face fines of up to 6% of their annual global revenue. Larger platforms must be DSA compliant by this summer, while smaller platforms will be obliged to tackle this content from 2024 onwards.
The ramifications of this are immense. Not only will the DSA now enforce the regulation of content on the internet for the first time, but it is also set to become a global standard, not just a European one.
In recent years, the EU has largely realised its ambition to become a global regulatory superpower. The EU can dictate how any company worldwide must behave if it wants to operate in Europe, the world’s second-largest market. As a result, its strict regulatory standards often end up being adopted worldwide by both firms and other regulators, in what is known as the ‘Brussels effect’. Take the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a privacy law which came into force in May 2018. Among many other things, it requires individuals to give explicit consent before their data can be processed. These EU regulations have since become the global standard, and the same could now happen for the DSA.