On EU’s Digital Services Act: Responsible content 

News: Recently, the European Union (EU) has approved landmark legislation known as the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA) 

What are the issues with social media platforms? 

They are being used for spreading disinformation and hate speech to influence elections, racist violence etc.  

The major problem lies in revenue models of the social media platforms. They depend on engagement.  

What are the features of the act? 

The Act makes social media businesses more responsible for content disseminated and amplified on their platforms. In fact, it gives social media users protection against hate speech, disinformation, and other harmful content.  

It specifies fines of up to 6% of annual global revenues, or outright bans, for non-compliance. This sort of substantial penalties could force platforms to review their business models.  

The government can ask platforms to take down content that may be deemed illegal. For example, stuff promoting terrorism, child sexual abuse, hate speech, and commercial scams.  

The social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, and Twitter would have to create tools that would allow the users to flag such content in “easy, effective ways”. Marketplaces like Amazon would have to create tools to allow users to flag products.  

Platforms can review content before deciding upon deletion, and must carry out annual reviews and risk assessments of content. 

It bans advertisements targeted at minors, as well as advertisements specifically based on gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.  

It bans the deceptive techniques used to nudge people into online commitments. For example, signing up by default for online services.  

The companies should do content-moderation while focussing to maximise user-engagement. They should not use algorithms designed to flood the individual’s timeline with a content of poor quality.  

Way Forward 

The new act can help the EU and its nations to safeguards free speech. They rank very high on the Democracy Index 

The DSA can be used as a model legislation in the US, Canada, and other democracies.  

Source: The post is based on an article “Responsible Content” published in the Business Standard on 25th April 2022. 

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