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On August 25, Europeans saw their online lives change. People in the 27-nation European Union (EU) can alter some of what shows up when they search, scroll, and share on the biggest social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, and other tech giants like Google and Amazon.
That’s because Big Tech companies, most headquartered in the U.S., are now subject to a pioneering new set of EU digital regulations. The Digital Services Act (DSA) aims to protect European users when it comes to privacy, transparency, and removal of harmful or illegal content.
You can turn off AI-recommended videos. Automated recommendation systems decide, based on people’s profiles, what they see in their feeds. Those can be switched off. Algorithmic recommendation systems based on user profiles have been blamed for creating so-called filter bubbles and pushing social media users to increasingly extreme posts. The European Commission wants users to have at least one other option for content recommendations that are not based on profiling.
It’s easier to flag harmful content. Users should find it easier to report a post, video, or comment that breaks the law or violates a platform’s rules so that it can be reviewed and taken down if required.
You’ll know why your post was taken down. The EU wants platforms to be more transparent about how they operate.
You can report fake products. The DSA is not just about policing content. It’s also aimed at stopping the flow of counterfeit Gucci handbags, pirated Nike sneakers, and other dodgy goods. Online fashion marketplace Zalando is setting up flagging systems, though it downplays the threat posed by its highly curated collection of designer clothes, bags, and shoes. “Customers only see content produced or screened by Zalando,” the German company said. “As a result, we have close to zero risk of illegal content and are therefore in a better position than many other companies when it comes to implementing the DSA changes.”
Your kids won’t be targeted with digital ads. Brussels wants to crack down on digital ads aimed at children over concerns about privacy and manipulation. Some platforms already started tightening up ahead of August 25’s deadline, even beyond Europe.
This article was provided by The Associated Press.