It could be very costly if any of the 19 large social media companies that qualify violate the EU's new Digital Services Act. A fine could be up to 6% of their global annual revenue, which is multiple billions of dollars per infraction.
Media Research Center spokesman Michael Morris is tracking the EU law for the media watchdog. He tells AFN there are some good ideas embedded in the new law, such as more transparency about behind-the-scenes punishment that limits a user's visibility to others and ends monetization.
“And then they're required to explain why what we would call censorship occurred,” he says.
Far more concerning, he says, is that the new law could actually increase that censorship.
“Companies will also have to identify what the DSA calls long-term risks that their platforms pose to society and that includes --- wouldn't you know --- disinformation and negative effects on mental health,” he explains.
If a plan to police unwelcomed opinions sounds familiar, it’s because Americans have witnessed that happen here on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
“Big Tech platforms, the Left, and governments all across the world, and in particular in the United States, have used words like ‘misinformation’, ‘disinformation,’ and ‘malinformation’ to simply remove content that they don't like,” Morris, who leads Free Speech America at MRC, points out.
As far as what happens next in Europe, it's possible Big Social could limit its compliance with the EU law.
“It's also possible,” he adds, “that you could create a one-size-fits-all type of situation, where it's easier for these Big Tech platforms to implement one set of rules across their platform in all areas.”