Sweeping New EU Law Targets Tech Giants: Ripple Effects Expected Globally

From Friday onwards, a game-changing European regulation will begin to shape the operations of the world's biggest tech companies, impacting everything from social media moderation to targeted advertising

by Faruk Imamovic
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Sweeping New EU Law Targets Tech Giants: Ripple Effects Expected Globally
© Getty Images Entertainment/Cindy Ord

From Friday onwards, a game-changing European regulation will begin to shape the operations of the world's biggest tech companies, impacting everything from social media moderation to targeted advertising. Its influence isn't merely continental; it could send waves of change across the globe.

A Landmark Decision in Tech Regulation

This trailblazing legislation from the European Union will have significant implications for tech behemoths like Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft, Snapchat, and TikTok, making it one of the most ambitious endeavors to curtail the seemingly boundless power of these giants.

Some of these tech juggernauts may be slapped with hefty fines, while others might see a drastic alteration in their software which, in turn, could affect the everyday consumer. The stakes? Under the Digital Services Act (DSA), EU officials can now levy fines of up to 6% of a giant platform’s global annual turnover.

To put this in perspective, for a company with a revenue profile like Meta's, which boasted over $116 billion last year, this could translate to billions in penalties.

Companies Race to Comply

Tech companies, it seems, are not taking this new regulation lightly.

Only this month, TikTok launched a feature allowing users to flag illegal content. In response to the DSA's directives, the platform also unveiled plans to offer EU users detailed reasons when posts are taken down and to cease targeting ads to European teens based on previously amassed data.

"We’ve revamped our systems to bolster transparency in advertising, content scrutiny, and recommendation methods. This is all to hand users more power over their experience on TikTok," remarked Morgan Evans, a spokesperson for TikTok.

Evans further highlighted that similar enhancements are on the horizon for TikTok’s global user base. Microsoft, meanwhile, labeled the DSA's inception as a significant juncture in the battle against unlawful online material.

They recognize the amplified obligations they now hold in the EU. Google and Pinterest, too, have engaged closely with the European Commission in preparation for the DSA's rollout. In affirming the company's commitment, a Google representative stated, “We are aligned with the DSA’s objectives of fostering a safer, more transparent, and accountable internet, ensuring European users and businesses continue reaping its advantages”.

Pinterest echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing user welfare, safety, and privacy as they transition under the DSA’s mandate.

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