The Alphabet subsidiary Google, Meta Platforms and Twitter exceeded an EU threshold on Thursday after the publication of their user numbers within the European Union (EU) and must therefore expect stricter rules regarding their content in the future. Twitter said it has an average of 100.9 million monthly users in the EU based on a 45-day estimate.
According to Alphabet, around 278.6 million users are on Google Maps, 274.6 million on Google Play, 332 million on Google Search, 74.9 million on Shopping and 401.7 million on YouTube each month. Meta Platforms announced that it has had an average of 255 million monthly active users on Facebook and around 250 million on Instagram in the EU over the past six months.
According to the Digital Services Act (DSA) passed by the European Parliament in July 2022, all companies in the EU with more than 45 million users are considered very large online platforms, which are then subject to certain obligations. This includes, for example, risk management, compliance with a code of conduct, external and independent reviews and the publication of your data for authorities and researchers.
The European Commission therefore gave online platforms and search engines until February 17 to publish their monthly active users in order to determine which companies are affected. For exceeding the threshold, Google, Twitter and Meta now have four months to comply with DSA rules or risk fines. In the event of violations, companies face fines of up to six percent of their annual turnover.
The EU law is intended to force search engines and online platforms to take stronger action against hate speech and other illegal content on the Internet. Among other things, the DSA stipulates that so-called “dark patterns”, i.e. manipulative design practices, are prohibited. Some companies use this to urge consumers to make a purchase decision.
In addition, large platforms should give their users more influence over which advertisements are displayed to them in the future. Advertising aimed at children or based on sensitive data such as religion, gender or political opinions should be banned.
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