Recently, the European Union implemented a totalitarian new regulation known as the “Digital Services Act.” It was enforced last Friday. This legislation ushers in an exceedingly rigorous regime of online content control, surpassing any previous forms of authoritarian oversight. While this law is specific to Europe, its ramifications are poised to exert a substantial influence on a global scale.
By A Lily Bit
A significant shift has occurred in the realm of the Internet, yet the majority of individuals residing in the United States may not be fully aware of its implications. Recently, the European Union implemented a totalitarian new regulation known as the “Digital Services Act,” and its enforcement commenced last Friday. This legislation ushers in an exceedingly rigorous regime of online content control, surpassing any previous forms of authoritarian oversight.
Under this new regulation, legions of European officials will act as the arbiters of what qualifies as acceptable discourse on the Internet. If they come across content on a major online platform that they deem objectionable, they possess the authority to compel the platform to remove it, all because someone in Europe might encounter it. While this law is specific to Europe, its ramifications are poised to exert a substantial influence on a global scale.
A seismic shift is underway, signalling a transformative moment in the digital landscape. Reports are surfacing that the Digital Services Act (“DSA”) has ushered in a profound change, one where major technology corporations are held legally responsible for the content that populates their platforms.
This paradigm-altering development essentially means that these tech giants, previously operating with a degree of immunity from content accountability, are now bound by the law to monitor and regulate the material posted on their platforms. The DSA imposes a legal obligation upon them to ensure that the content aligns with stringent standards and does not violate established guidelines.
In essence, the DSA marks a watershed moment, as it not only underscores the growing importance of digital responsibility but also demands a significant recalibration of how these technology giants’ function in the online sphere. Consequently, the implications of this legal shift are poised to reverberate throughout the digital world, shaping the future of online content and user interactions.
The European Union’s Digital Services Act (DSA) has officially gone into effect. Starting on August 25th, 2023, tech giants like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and more must comply with sweeping legislation that holds online platforms legally accountable for the content posted to them.
Even though this new law was passed in the EU, we’ll likely see far-reaching global effects as companies adjust their policies to comply.
The EU’s Digital Services Act goes into effect today: here’s what that means, The Verge, 25 August 2023
However, commencing 24 February 2024, the DSA will extend its applicability to a significantly wider range of online platforms boasting fewer than 45 million monthly users.
We’ve been informed that this fresh legislation will lay out precise guidelines that online platforms are obligated to adhere to. This encompasses the regulation of content deemed “false or misleading” as outlined in the Strengthened Code of Practice on Disinformation.
So, what types of speech does the DSA aim to regulate? The Strengthened Code of Practice on Disinformation from the previous year defines disinformation as “false or misleading content that is disseminated with the intent to deceive or gain economic or political advantages and that may lead to public harm.” This code has already been applied during elections and in response to crises such as covid and the conflict in Ukraine.
These measures are often presented as innocuous and non-political, merely steering users away from unfounded claims like 5G towers causing covid or countering deliberate foreign interference. However, the reality is more complex. To illustrate this point, consider the European Digital Media Observatory (“EDMO”), an EU-funded fact-checking hub whose goal is to “detect disinformation, uncover its sources, or mitigate its impact.”
This organisation, which claims to be “independent” and “impartial,” can be seen as the EU’s equivalent of a surveillance entity. Launched by the Commission in June 2020 with a budget of €13.5 million, it compiles reports on online discourse within the EU. These reports include regular “fact-checking briefs,” “disinformation reports” for specific countries and “early warnings” regarding anticipated disinformation trends – all aimed at “pre-bunking” falsehoods. “Pre-bunking,” as one EDMO presentation explains, is the process of exposing falsehoods before they gain traction.