Google to Revise Policies in Response to EU’s Digital Services Act

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Google to Revise Policies in Response to EU’s Digital Services Act
Google to Revise Policies in Response to EU’s Digital Services Act © Getty Images News/Justin Sullivan

In a recent blog post dated August 24, Google announced its intention to reshape various service policies to align with the mandates of the European Union's Digital Services Act (DSA). This announcement underscores the growing importance of digital regulation in a world that's becoming increasingly interconnected.

The tech behemoth revealed it's not only making changes but also investing considerably in diverse areas to meet the DSA's stringent stipulations.

Substantive Changes on the Horizon

Among the proposed changes, Google aims to:

  • Enhance its Ads Transparency Center, giving a clearer window into online advertising operations.
  • Broaden researchers' access to pivotal data, as well as emphasize transparency research, thereby ensuring a more open digital landscape.
  • Ramp up visibility for content moderation, granting users a better understanding of what's allowed and what isn't on the platform.
  • Establish a brand-new Transparency Center dedicated to its policies, streamlining user comprehension of platform rules.
  • Commit to deeper risk assessment to keep potential threats at bay.
However, with these changes, Google also conveyed apprehensions.

Specifically, they shed light on the unintended backlashes certain measures might spur. The company cautions against "the risk of making it easier for bad actors to abuse our services and spread harmful misinformation by providing too much information about our enforcement approach."

Understanding the EU’s Digital Services Act

At the heart of the DSA lies an objective to create a unified content regulation framework throughout the European Union, bringing more clarity and precision to content moderation processes on the web.

The DSA has also demarcated 17 online platforms as "very large online platforms" (VLOPs) and identified two platforms as "very large online search engines" (VLOSEs). Platforms falling under these designations have a checklist of requirements:

  • Proactive measures against illegal posts, including tools to report such content.
  • A prohibition on targeted advertising driven by sensitive user information such as sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, or political inclinations.
  • Limitations on directing targeted advertisements towards younger audiences.
  • An obligation to share essential data with both research bodies and official authorities.
The modifications promised by Google and the DSA’s guidelines signify an era where digital platforms are held to higher standards, aiming to create a safer and more transparent online environment for all. Only time will tell if these adaptations will serve as a model for other tech giants and regions around the world.

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