The European Parliament today voted historic rules aimed at regulating tech giants such as Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and many others. These are the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA).
The DMA was approved by 588 votes (11 against, 31 abstentions) and the DSA by 539 votes (54 against, 30 abstentions) during a vote by MEPs in plenary session in Strasbourg.
The DMA marks a change in philosophy in the fight against the abuse of large platforms. After years of chasing in vain after the offenses of these multinationals in endless legal proceedings, the European Commission wants to act upstream, by imposing twenty rules on them to respect under penalty of dissuasive fines. Objective: to act quickly and effectively, before abusive behavior has destroyed competition. “It will no longer be the European Commission but the companies themselves who will have to prove that they allow free competition”, said German MEP Andreas Schwab, DMA rapporteur.
The legislation establishes control by the European Commission over all takeover operations of these giants, regardless of the size of the target, to limit the monopolization of innovation by start-ups and acquisitions aimed at destroying a competitor. Google will in particular be prohibited from showing any favoritism towards its own services in the results of its search engine, as it has been accused of doing with its online sales site Google Shopping. At Apple, it will allow sideloading (installing applications outside the App Store), third-party payments for applications, iMessage interoperability and more. The new law will also prevent Amazon from using data generated on its sites by corporate customers to better compete with them.
The new regulatory corpus sets unprecedented standards for the responsibility of online companies, in an open and competitive digital market. ⬇️https://t.co/nRFeoJpCkI
— European Parliament in France (@Europarl_EN) July 5, 2022
Then on the DSA
For its part, the DSA intends to put an end to the abuses of social networks which have often hit the headlines. The text also concerns sales platforms overrun with counterfeit or defective products, which can be dangerous, such as children’s toys that do not meet safety standards. The new regulation will require the rapid removal of any illegal content (according to national and European laws) as soon as a platform becomes aware of it. It will force social networks to suspend users who frequently violate the law. Also, the DSA will require online sales sites to verify the identity of their suppliers before offering their products.
It requires very large platforms, those with more than 45 million active users in the European Union, to assess themselves the risks associated with the use of their services and to put in place the appropriate means to withdraw problematic content. They will be imposed increased transparency on their data and recommendation algorithms. They will be audited once a year by independent organizations and placed under the supervision of the European Commission.
The new legislation was already the subject of an agreement in the spring between the co-legislators and will still have to receive the final approval of the Member States next week. A pioneer on a global scale, it could inspire other countries, including the United States.