The new EU digital law

2 min
Tags: digital law EU Protected Consumer ONLINE Influence ILLEGAL

The new EU digital law

According to a new European Union law, Internet companies should be obliged to take even better action against counterfeit products, disinformation and agitation in the future. This has been the subject of a veritable marathon of negotiations in recent years. Both the European Parliament and the negotiators of the European states have reached an agreement and worked out solutions on the subject of digital services. Online platforms will be more strictly supervised so that consumers enjoy increased protection. Such a historic agreement has never been reached before.

The consumer is better protected

Basically, the new rules apply to digital services that function as intermediaries to give consumers and users access to content and goods. Mainly the big online groups will be regulated more by the EU. This refers to search engines and platforms with a volume of more than 45 million users.

This includes about 20 companies. These are, for example, the following:

  • Microsoft
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Meta
  • YouTube
  • Google
  • Twitter
  • Apple
  • Amazon
  • LinkedIn

These above-mentioned services are governed by different rules than small businesses. However, there are also exceptions.

Basically, all things are illegal that are also illegal offline. This includes, for example, counterfeit products on online marketplaces as well as terror propaganda and hate speech. The platforms must therefore assume more responsibility. In this way, targeted action is taken against incitement and hatred on the Internet. The benchmark for this is to be 24 hours when it comes to identifying this content. In principle, the freedom of expression of all participants should also remain protected. A differentiation is made between illegal content and harmful content, which falls under freedom of expression.

Users have more options to choose from

In the future, the user will have more influence over which ads and which advertisements he will see. The respective recommendation algorithms from the larger social networks will be made all the more transparent. Therefore, the consumer will have corresponding choices. Manipulative practices are prohibited. This includes, for example, misleading user interfaces.

A special new crisis mechanism on the subject of terror, pandemic and war will also come into force. Last but not least, the current war in Ukraine is also related to this. Thus, in the future, it will be possible to force online platforms to provide detailed information to experts and supervisory authorities.

There are heavy penalties

Fines of up to 6% may be imposed if a company violates these above-mentioned regulations and the new digital law. Control is the responsibility of a competent authority to ensure that the rules are enforced. It is not yet clear exactly which authority will be responsible for this. Germany has a network search law to combat hate speech and crimes on the Internet. The new solution should make this law obsolete. The scope is more extensive.

Now it is still pending that the new decision is confirmed by the European states and the European Parliament. In principle, a general transition period of 15 months is planned after the new law comes into force. Search engines and platforms have a period of four months.