The European Union’s landmark rules on online content are set to come into full force soon, and the EU Commissioner responsible for enforcing these regulations, Thierry Breton, is embarking on a two-day visit to San Francisco.
His mission is to ensure that major platforms, including Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram, as well as TikTok and Twitter, are ready to comply with the new regulations.
During his visit, Breton will meet with the CEO of Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk, owner of Twitter.
Musk’s ownership of Twitter has brought significant changes to the platform’s rules regarding permissible language, sometimes conflicting with the EU’s new regulations on offensive, hateful, and misleading content.
Breton also plans to meet with the CEO of OpenAI, Sam Altman, the tech company behind ChatGPT, as well as the CEO of AI chipmaker Nvidia.
The AI Act, another proposed European law with potential influence over US big tech companies, is currently being negotiated by EU lawmakers.
Breton emphasized during a recent interview with Politico, underscoring the purpose of his trip; “I am the enforcer. I represent the law, which is the will of the state and the people.”
In an attempt to reassure Europeans, Musk has agreed to subject Twitter to a DSA “stress test” to evaluate its compliance with EU standards, although the results will not be made public.
During a visit to Paris, Musk expressed his commitment to meeting the requirements of the DSA.
However, concerns have been raised about Twitter’s capacity to fulfill this commitment, as the company has downsized its workforce, including content moderation teams.
The DSA is one of the most ambitious legislations to control online content since the rise of social media platforms.
Similar to the General Data Protection Regulation, the DSA is expected to set a global benchmark as governments worldwide seek to address the challenges posed by social media excesses.
Complying with the new rules will require substantial investments from Twitter, Meta, TikTok, and other platforms, precisely at a time when big tech companies have been reducing staff, including content moderation teams.
Under the DSA, “Very Large Online Platforms” will face specific regulations starting from August 25.
Compliance with transparency requirements, such as providing access to algorithms and content decisions, will be a significant challenge for Meta, which has limited third-party access to data since the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018.
The DSA includes provisions for platforms to designate an EU representative responsible for content matters and grants users unprecedented rights to appeal takedown orders.
Tech giants that violate DSA rules may face fines up to six percent of their annual turnover and, in extreme cases, be banned from operating in the EU.