In a move that could reshape the online world dominated by Big Tech, the European Union (EU) has agreed on Digital Services Act (DSA) that will force tech giants to take greater responsibility for content on their platforms, else face fines of up to six per cent of their annual turnover for non-compliance.
Google, Meta and other platforms will now have to explain their algorithms.
The DSA sets out an unprecedented new standard for the accountability of online platforms regarding illegal and harmful content.
It will provide better protection for internet users and their fundamental rights, as well as define a single set of rules in the internal market, helping smaller platforms to scale up, the European Commission said in a statement.
"The DSA will upgrade the ground-rules for all online services in the EU. It will ensure that the online environment remains a safe space, safeguarding freedom of expression and opportunities for digital businesses. It gives practical effect to the principle that what is illegal offline, should be illegal online," said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Online platforms should now be transparent about their content moderation decisions, prevent dangerous disinformation from going viral and avoid unsafe products being offered on marketplaces, added Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age, Margrethe Vestager.
The DSA is different from the Digital Markets Act (DMA) which was agreed upon in March.
While the DMA focuses on creating a level-playing field between businesses, the DSA deals with how companies police content on their platforms.
"With the agreement we ensure that platforms are held accountable for the risks their services can pose to society and citizens," said Vestager.
The regulators said that with the DSA, the time of big online platforms behaving like they are "too big to care" is coming to an end.20220424-135406