The European Union reached an agreement Saturday on landmark legislation forcing Big Tech firms such as Google and Facebook’s parent company Meta, as well as other internet services, to more aggressively combat hate speech and misinformation or risk multibillion-dollar fines.
Under the new Digital Services Act, companies will be required to strictly police their online platforms by setting up new policies and procedures to quickly remove flagged hate speech, terrorist propaganda and any other content deemed illegal by countries within the European Union.
The new law also bans ads targeted at minors from these companies’ platforms, as well as ads based on a user’s gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. It will also get companies to disclose how their services spread or amplify divisive content.
“With today’s agreement we ensure that platforms are held accountable for the risks their services can pose to society and citizens,” E.U. Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.
“The time of big online platforms behaving like they are ‘too big to care’ is coming to an end,” E.U. Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton added.