App Giants, Digital Players Face Pressure On Two Fronts


European Commission EVP Margrethe Vestager outlined ambitions to force global digital services providers to better control content on their platforms, hours after the CEOs of Google, Facebook and Twitter appeared in front of US politicians to discuss similar issues.

In a speech during a European Policy Centre event, Vestager said rules set to be outlined in the EC’s draft Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act would place responsibility for illegal content on service providers, and deal with competition issues among other policies.

The documents are set to be unveiled in December and will also lay out new information service providers are required to make available, including the identity of who’s paying for targeted adverts, how search rankings are compiled and use of personal data.

Vestager said it would require big players to “be open about the way they shape the digital world that we see”.

“They’ll have to report on what they’ve done to take down illegal material. They’ll have to tell us how they decide what information and products to recommend to us, and which ones to hide, and give us the ability to influence those decisions, instead of simply having them made for us,” she added.

Although the home countries of providers will retain ultimate control on how they are regulated, the acts will require national authorities to cooperate and give the European Union the “power to step in, when we need to, to enforce the rules against some very large platforms”.

US pressure

October 28, the chiefs of three of the world’s largest digital service providers appeared in the US Senate to discuss how they deal with content on their platforms.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter chief Jack Dorsey and Sundar Pichai, head of Google parent Alphabet, faced a Senate committee to discuss their responsibilities under the Communications Decency Act.

Reuters reported the three argued the current rule allowed them to strike a balance between free speech and moderating content.

But, with a US presidential election looming, the news outlet noted the session turned party political, with opposing members of the senate clashing over the issue.

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