Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, was on RTL on Wednesday, April 27 to respond to Elon Musk’s takeover of the social network Twitter. The billionaire’s takeover of the platform is nothing to worry about, the man is defending complete freedom of expression on the platform. After the criticism, Musk claimed he would abide by the law.
For his part, Thierry Breton was reassured, explaining that the European Union now has “Grammar” Which helps prevent distractions. The Commissioner shall mention the new regulatory framework, “Everything is new”since its existence Since last Friday: Digital Services Act (DSA). “We have the impression that he is an attendant.” So, Thierry Bretton rejoiced.
Even if, in their statements, Thierry Breton and Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, Cedric O, suggest that this legislation is indeed in effect, it will take some time yet. For now, the House and Parliament have agreed on an interim agreement, from Friday night to Saturday, April 23.
The Commission submitted its proposal in December 2020. During the European legislative process, representatives of the various EU bodies meet informally in “trilateral” to negotiate a common text. Once this stage has passed, lawyers and linguists examine the text before it is submitted to Parliament and the Council, which will vote – or not vote – on its adoption. The deadlines have not yet been set, but the procedure should last several more months.According to the details provided by the Council of the European Union, the rules generated by the DSA may apply fifteen months after publication in the Official Gazette, but from four months for players designated as major digital platforms.
Law from real to virtual
What is the Digital Services Act? “Anything that is forbidden in real life will also be forbidden in digital life.”, summarized by Thierry Britton on RTL. The text, in fact, seeks to tighten the conditions for moderation in social networks. Currently, only the 2000 directive on a European scale defines the responsibility of digital players to their publications. Either the digital representative is a publisher and is responsible for what they publish, or they are a host and are only responsible in the event of a complaint. Tariffs that are no longer suitable for platforms such as social networks.
With DSA, it is therefore a matter of enforcing on digital platforms “Obligations of Means” , explains Cabinet Thierry Breton. The draft European regulations are not about defining the content to be regulated, which is a matter of national laws and other specific European regulations, but about the implementation, on the Internet, of obligations already in existing laws, such as the prohibition of homophobic statements, incitement to racial hatred… By country, Holocaust denialIt can be part of the notes to be deleted, for example the government of Thierry Breton.
For Alexandre Lazargue, a lawyer specializing in digital law, the draft regulation is above all compatible with “Putting responsibility on platforms, especially social networks”. The larger their audience, the stricter the rules around them. They should first facilitate reporting through a visual tool. Then, after notification, if the remarks made are reprehensible, they will have to withdraw them and report the information about the perpetrator to the authorities in the event of a trial. Each year, they will report to the authorities on the decisions they have made.
The algorithm should also be freely available for its content moderation side, a novelty that will see the light of day thanks to the Digital Services Act. This device will make it possible to find out their moderation standards. “We will have the possibility to audit it several times a year.”confirms Thierry Breton.
In France, a regulation already exists
With some EU countries being more advanced than others in adapting their laws to the digital sphere, the DSA aims above all to harmonize their legislation and constrain the major platforms more broadly. To further equalize the member states, the European Union is also requiring digital players to have intermediaries in every local language.
For France, which has already been trying to regulate moderation on digital platforms, this does not change “not much”Alexandre Lazargue explains. It already has rules, especially in “The Law of Trust in the Digital Economywhich provided a rather strict regime, more than other European countries ”Lazargue added. Moreover, the law that promotes the principles of the republic already contains many articles related to “Combating Hate Speech and Illegal Content on the Internet” .
However, organizing the comments posted on the Internet is not easy. In 2020, the Avia Act was emptied of several articles that had been challenged by the Constitutional Council. Text demanded strong response from platforms to delete messages “Obviously illegal”,At the risk of excessive moderation that could undermine freedom of expression. At the European level, Regulation 2021 defines the obligation of results in terms of terrorist content: reported words or images must be removed within one hour.
Greater sanctions imposed thanks to the European Union
Thierry Breton also specified to RTL that the EU would have the ability to impose penalties in the event of repeated violations of the Digital Services Act. He warns that digital companies can be penalized first A fine of up to 6% of the global turnover . For large platforms, this represents large sums, which did not “no relation ship” With the sums France has been able to inflict on these digital players, Alexandre Lazargue confirms. However, the lawyer recalls that current penalties that have increased by up to 4% of global sales volume, as stipulated in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), adopted in 2021, have not. “Companies are forced to respect this provision.” Google has been condemned for its lack of transparency.
That’s why Thierry Breton warned in RTL about a last resort: “Prohibition of work, purely and simply, on European soil.”And in order to prove that such a measure is possible, the commissioner recalls that this is what has just been done in relation to Russia Today and Sputnik. In practice, the ban is the same, applied by Internet providers that are subject to the law, but in terms of law, the ban on Russian media does not meet the same rules as the Digital Services Act. Sputnik and Russia today have already been banned under the special framework of “penal system” . With the DSA, it is not certain that the EU will come to such a drastic decision. call him CheckNews On the subject, Thierry Breton’s wardrobe: “It’s a punishment that is provided as a last resort, the DSA is not there either to issue fines, but to correct wrong behavior.” To prevent this behavior, the Commissioner for the Internal Market announced that the platforms will have to pay a fee of a maximum of 0.05% of their turnover to allow the Cabinet. “Have a way to hire specialists”responsible for supervising it.