In accordance with the latest European text relating to online regulation, the GAFAMs will have to be transparent about their algorithms.
After several hours of negotiations over the weekend, the European Union finally agreed on the direction of the Digital Services Act, or DSA. Objective for the old continent: to force the big technology companies – Google, Meta and Apple in the lead – to take responsibility for the content that passes through their platforms, while demonstrating greater transparency with European legislators.
Delete illegal content, but not only
Initially, the DSA law will aim to make platforms responsible for the content they host. In the event of illegal publication, the GAFAM must quickly take appropriate measures, under penalty of being directly sanctioned. In a press release, the President of the European Commission, Ursula Von Der Leyen explains as follows: “This law gives practical application to the principle that anything that is illegal offline should also be illegal online”.
Among the most important points of the text of the law, we note in particular the obligation for online platforms to make their algorithm transparent to users. Concretely, TikTok, Facebook and even Netflix will no longer be able to offer personalized content without explaining how it works. Internet users should also be able to benefit from a general recommendation system, not based on profile analysis. A novelty that will undoubtedly come back for the platforms, to adopt the return of the chronological flow, like Instagram in recent weeks.
Faced with illegal content, it will also be necessary for platforms clearly explain the reasons for such deletion, while providing users with the ability to appeal the decision. The DSA specifies, however, that in this particular case, the local laws of each country will apply individually.
Even if the DSA text will for the moment only apply to EU citizens, it is a safe bet that the decisions taken by European regulators will have an international impact.