E.U. Lawmakers Propose New Rules to Control Online Content

Monday’s measures were passed by the European Parliament’s lead committee, which could have major implications for the content management practices of giant tech companies.

The rules, according to a person familiar and copies of the votes that were viewed by Bloomberg, would curtail targeting ads to minors and completely ban so-called “dark patterns,” where platforms push people to consent to being tracked online. A controversial amendment was passed which would make it mandatory for anyone uploading content to porn websites to register.

The proposed changes would restrict the Digital Services Act. A measure that was introduced by the European Commission last January to regulate online material, it requires illicit posts to be removed. Researchers can also access information on algorithms.

Although the rules may be in effect by 2023, there could be delays due to difficult negotiations with the EU and the Commission at the beginning of next year.

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen told the European Parliament in November that the Digital Services Act has the potential to become the “global gold standard” to hold giant internet companies accountable.

Monday’s proposal still needs to get sign-off from the full European Parliament in January, when it will likely face a push for a complete ban on targeted advertising. The lawmakers then need to reach an agreement with the European Commission or EU countries. They both proposed less restrictive rules.


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