New E.U. legislation to look under the hood of Big Tech algorithms
Future. The E.U. is cracking down hard on Big Tech platforms, passing the Digital Services Act to regulate nearly every controversial aspect of how tech influences individual users and society at large. While the legislation only applies to European users, expect U.S. legislators to use this act as a blueprint for regulation back home… a move most Americans would probably support.
The E.U. is sick and tired of the mysteries at the heart of Big Tech platforms. The Verge has a great rundown of a handful of things mandated in the new Digital Services Act:
- Goodbye targeted advertising based on religion, ethnicity, or gender… and don’t even think about targeting kids.
- Say farewell to “dark patterns,” confusing UIs that subconsciously direct a user toward something they wouldn’t typically click. For example, companies need to make it as easy to cancel a subscription as it is to start one.
- Recommender algorithms (News Feed on Facebook, For You on TikTok, Suggested Shows on Netflix) will need to be transparent to users.
- And platforms will be required to have a plan in place for dealing with misinformation during a crisis — a late addition inspired by the war in Ukraine.
If companies don’t follow the provisions, they could face fines of up to 6% of annual revenue made in the E.U. According to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, “It gives practical effect to the principle that what is illegal offline, should be illegal online. The greater the size, the greater the responsibilities of online platforms.”
Talk about not mincing words.