Brussels: agreement on Digital Services Act

The European Council and European Parliament have reached a consensus on the Digital Services Act, which aims to ensure that online platforms, marketplaces and search engines are not used to distribute or offer illegal content, false information or false products. Its supervision will be in the hands of the EU Commission and member states. The media response is predominantly positive.

Open/close all quotes
Politiken (DK) /

FInally taming the tech giants

Politiken is enthusiastic:

“Those involved talk about a new 'gold standard' for our rights on the internet and democratic control of the algorithms that secretly control traffic and what you see on search engines like Google and social media like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. ... The bottom line is that the EU is now fighting the fundamental battle with the tech giants who, practically without restrictions, have revolutionised our society. Much of this is undoubtedly positive. But other things have been harmful. The profit considerations of private companies are not always synonymous with social considerations.”

Die Presse (AT) /

EU does not need a Ministry of Truth

It is not up to governments to decide on the legitimacy of information sources, Die Presse warns:

“If EU governments and the European Parliament succeed in reaching an agreement on the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA), a uniform legal framework protecting individuals on the internet will emerge for the first time across Europe. That is a good thing. But part of the plan is also to protect users from disinformation and manipulation. The EU is entering dangerous territory with this move. Because it must set criteria and ultimately decide what is true and what is untrue: very presumptuous. As necessary as it is to protect personal rights online, it would be dangerous for state organisations to interfere in the selection of information sources.”

Handelsblatt (DE) /

A historic mission

The EU must now enforce the law consistently, Handelsblatt's Brussels correspondent Christoph Herwartz demands:

“With this move, Brussels has embarked on a historic mission that no one else could push forward in this way right now. For in the US - which as home to most social media bears the brunt of responsibility - the parallel society has already spread too far. The Americans relied on Europe to solve the problem they helped create. The main thing now is for the EU to be consistent. It must hire enough staff to meet its own standards. It must fund research to better understand how algorithms work. And it must be prepared to adapt this law again and again.”

Le Monde (FR) /

Law comes at the right time

Musk's Twitter purchase shows how urgent it is to clearly define the social networks' mode of operation, Le Monde stresses:

“The Tesla boss believes that there are no legal limits to what one is allowed to say in public space. But the algorithmic amplitude that social networks give to false reports and hate speech makes this libertarian attitude a significant chaos factor. Musk's takeover threatens to undo the paltry attempts at moderation that Twitter has made in recent years. The Digital Services Act, due to come into effect by 2023, comes at the right time. It addresses challenges that cannot be tackled by a handful of web bosses alone, however brilliant they may be.”