April 19, 2024
Google adjusts to European Union regulations
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Google Adapts to EU Regulations: Announce Policy Updates for Digital Services

Google intends to revise its service policies in alignment with the European Digital Services Act (DSA), as revealed in a blog post on August 24. The tech giant, Google, has emphasized its substantial investments in diverse domains aimed at fulfilling the specific requisites of the European Union’s DSA.

The outlined strategy encompasses the expansion of the Ads Transparency Center, augmenting the accessibility of data for researchers, broadening transparency-focused research initiatives, enhancing the visibility of content moderation efforts, establishing a new Transparency Center for policy-related matters, and conducting more comprehensive risk assessments.

The blog post also underscores Google’s reservations about potential unintended consequences stemming from certain measures, “such as the risk of making it easier for bad actors to abuse our services and spread harmful misinformation by providing too much information about our enforcement approach”. The EU’s DSA aims to consolidate content regulations across the region while developing more explicit processes for online content moderation. Additionally, it designates 17 online platforms as very large online platforms (VLOPs) and 2 as very large online search engines (VLOSEs).

The general mandates for platforms within these categories involve the prevention and removal of illicit content, the establishment of mechanisms for reporting such content, the prohibition of targeted advertising based on users’ characteristics like sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, or political beliefs, restrictions on targeted ads directed at children, and the sharing of data with researchers and authorities, among other stipulations. Among the VLOPs are notable names such as Alibaba AliExpress, Amazon Store, Apple AppStore, Booking.com, Facebook, Google Play, Google Maps, Google Shopping, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, Wikipedia, and Zalando. The two entities identified as VLOSEs are Bing Search and Google Search.

All the platforms in these specified categories were required to meet the DSA obligations by August 28. Google characterizes these updates as “compliance at scale.”

TikTok, also recognized under the DSA as a VLOP, communicated on August 4 that it had prepared for the stipulations. It introduced avenues for reporting illicit content, provided greater insights into content moderation methodologies, heightened the transparency of its recommendation system, and revised its advertising policies for teenage users.

The Reddit platform saw users engage in discussions regarding the impending implementation of the DSA. Some lauded these regulations as a necessary step to ensure accountability for big tech companies, while others expressed concerns that these measures might curtail freedom of expression. Despite these strides toward a safer online environment, Google responded to allegations of tracking children’s data for ads, which had surfaced in a comprehensive report, in a blog post on August 21.

Image by Simon from Pixabay

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