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European Parliament adopts the Digital Services Package, setting the bar high for online platforms

05 July 2022
Telephone with social media applications

Today, the European Parliament adopted the Digital Services Package, consisting of the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA), with an overwhelming majority in the plenary vote. MEPs greenlighted the political agreements reached with the European Commission and the Council in spring this year. Public Service Media welcome this major step and look forward to the final adoption in Council which will officially close the legislative procedure.

EBU’s Head of the Brussels Office, Wouter Gekiere said: “The EU has shown great determination to set a high standard for platform regulation. The DSA and DMA will make a difference for European citizens and businesses in their day-to-day interactions with online platforms. Particularly, the DMA will make the digital sector fairer and more competitive, curtailing the market dominance of gatekeeper platforms.”

Transparency provisions in the DSA will help platform users to better understand how platforms moderate their content and recommend it to users. The dos and don’ts foreseen in the DMA will oblige gatekeepers to provide business users with access to data related to the use of their services as well as to advertising performance data. Preventing tech giants from unduly ranking their own products or services higher than those of others will be beneficial for media plurality.

However, the Digital Services Package can only be effective if big tech companies comply with the rules in practice. The European Commission and national regulators must now put the spotlight on oversight and enforcement. Making platforms abide by the rules will require sufficient human and technical resources, including the necessary IT tools and expertise.

Several challenges will persist despite the Digital Services Package. European policymakers should further reflect on the considerable influence of the platform economy on access to information and on opinion-making in the context of the upcoming European Media Freedom Act.

Public Service Media must be equipped with the necessary tools to react to and challenge unfair and arbitrary decisions by platform operators with regards to their content. Importantly, policymakers should also ensure that the publishers of media content online can always be easily identifiable; promote the adoption of measures ensuring visibility of general interest content in the online sphere and promote transparency in audience measurement.

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